Irony: Economist reports on Chinese Olympic security; why not on similar Hokkaido G8 security?

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Hi Blog.  Something I saw in The Economist this week raised an eyebrow:

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The Beijing Olympics

Five-ring circus

Jul 24th 2008
From 
The Economist print edition

News from the forbidden Citius, Altius, Fortius

http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11792915
FOREIGNERS deemed potential protesters are being kept out of China during the Olympic games (August 8th-24th). Beijing is ringed with police checkpoints to keep troublemakers at bay. But the authorities have named three city parks where demonstrations, in theory, will be allowed. They are well out of earshot of the main Olympic venues and police permits will be needed (five days’ notice required). Chinese rules ban any protest that threatens public security or social stability. This is routinely used to block any demonstration that citizens have the temerity to propose.

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COMMENT:  Er, all of these things happened in Japan (in one form or another) before and during the G8 Summit in Hokkaido this month (not to mention all G8 Summits over the past decade, not just Japan, although Japan’s security spending is several times greater than the others).  

Agreed, this isn’t a nice thing for China to do, but why isn’t The Economist (and other media) writing about things like this happening in Japan?  Is it just easier to zero in on China because it’s historically redder?   Or is the G8 just something that merits the extra security, oh well?

Sources start here.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

5 comments on “Irony: Economist reports on Chinese Olympic security; why not on similar Hokkaido G8 security?

  • “but why isn’t The Economist (and other media) writing about things like this happening in Japan?”

    Because Japan isn’t the big new “evil empire” all the Westerners are supposed to be afraid of. Japan isn’t the country that Americans are supposed to look at and go “I’m so happy I don’t live there!” It’s all politically-motivated spin.

  • “Because Japan isn’t the big new “evil empire” all the Westerners are supposed to be afraid of.”

    I wouldn’t be quite so cynical. Political spin unfortunately influences almost all media these days, but I think in this case the popularity of each event is a much bigger factor. Almost everybody is interested in the Olympics to some level, a much smaller percentage pays any attention to the G8 conferences.

    Is this fair? No. But does it makes sense from a publisher’s point of view? Yes. Kudos to Debito for pointing it out, making more people care is the only way coverage will improve.

  • Another John says:

    I side with Ariel. The Olympics are a two-week global event with hundreds of thousands of tourists and spectators expected. The G8 was just a few days of politics.

    What gets me is that the foreign press is howling about “China’s censorship of the Internet during the Olympics.” I got news for all of you – as a frequent visitor to China, I can tell you that Internet censorship is pretty much a daily, run-of-the-mill thing; they’re just being tighter during the Olympics than normal.

    Go to http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/test/ for but one site…

  • The G8 conference is small potatos, global-event-wise, compared to the summer games. Stiflingly tight security at a three-day political circus with around 20 participants won’t ever raise as many eyebrows as the same at a two-week sports festival with maybe 500 times as many.

  • “I can tell you that Internet censorship is pretty much a daily, run-of-the-mill thing”

    Actually, believe it or not, ever since the riots in Lhasa I’ve noticed that quite a few websites that were previously banned here in China have been suddenly “un-banned.” Wikipedia, for example. Flickr, too. BBC, as well. Chinese Google search results have been more open, as well. I was totally not expecting any of it, but I guess I shouldn’t take it for granted, huh?

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