Chinese Embassy Helped Organise Pro-China Nationalism Psy-Op
There were a few moments when it looked like Australian Federal Police were considering hauling away the two Chinese paramilitary blue tracksuiters they allowed to escort the Olympic Torch through the streets, and past the monuments, of Canberra. The paramilitary eventually got the message and backed off, boxed in as they were for most of the 16 km run by police.
It didn't get too ugly in Canberra yesterday morning, unless you were a lone 'Free Tibet' protester, surrounded and swamped by dozens of yelling, shrieking Chinese students drowning you in huge Communist China flags.
Some 10,000 loud and proud pro-China supporters were bussed in, in a minutely co-ordinated exercise. More than 40 buses arrived from Melbourne. Even more buses journeyed down from Sydney.
The Chinese embassy in Australia were heavily involved in this very successful psy-op :
But most of the pro-China students didn't resort to violence. They didn't need to. They had the strength of numbers.
China helped to orchestrate the mass demonstration by thousands of Chinese students that turned Canberra into a sea of red for yesterday's torch relay.
ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope confirmed the Chinese Embassy in Canberra was closely involved in helping transport up to 10,000 Chinese students, ensuring pro-China demonstrators vastly outnumbered Tibetan activists.
The revelation of official Chinese involvement in the demonstrations could trigger a diplomatic row with Australia's largest trading partner.
It is understood Beijing's officials in Canberra were in constant contact with travel companies and student leaders who were recruiting China's red army of young activistsJon Stanhope : "...the ambassador has indicated that he was in contact with representative Chinese organisational groups, (for the) most part in Sydney and Melbourne. "
Asked if he believed China had helped to supply the thousands of professionally made flags and bunting, Mr Stanhope said: "I believe it must have been provided by a central agency."
The Chinese demonstrators appeared highly organised, with leaders sporting walkie-talkies and colour-coded uniforms.
Dozens of Tibetan protesters were surrounded by mini-mobs of Chinese protesters, who screamed "Liar, liar" and "One China forever" at them.
At one stage, near the National Library, the pro-China activists hurled water bottles and fruit at nearby Tibetan supporters.
In many instances, police ordered outnumbered Tibetan activists to leave sections of the relay route for their own safety.
The Tibetans were also told to leave the final stage because of concerns mass violence might break out.
Lone or small groups of pro-Tibet supporters were quickly surrounded by dozens of Chinese students with their huge flags on long poles. Naturally, a few pro-Tibet supporters got whacked in the head by those poles during the pushing and shoving.
The slogan shouting from the Chinese students was loud and intimidating for not only other protesters, but many of the local families who walked to the nearest corner on the torch relay route to find themselves pushed and jostled as packs of students ran screaming through the crowds.
You will see the exact same methods of non-violent but extremely intimidating protest suppression in Beijing in August. For starters.
Surround, drown and shout down : Chinese students use flag poles to box in a pro-Tibet supporter.
Sydney Morning Herald ;
We're presuming Mr Li learned of China's history in Australia, not back in China, where the official histories tend not to focus on the imprisonment and execution of dissenters and political activists.
Pro-Tibet protesters have reported being heavied by groups of Chinese students who were bussed to Canberra in their thousands to support this morning's Olympic torch relay in Canberra.
One woman called Marie said she was mobbed by screaming Chinese students as she tried to watch the relay go past. She had to be rescued and escorted away by police.
Alistair Paterson, 52, from Lake George outside Canberra, said he was standing with his seven-year-old daughter on Limestone Avenue with an older couple, their teenage son and two other young women when they were attacked by a group of about 50 people draped in Chinese flags.
Mr Paterson said he was holding a "Free Tibet" banner and the older couple also had a pro-Tibet placard, which angered the group as it ran along the crowd side of the barrier.
"I got a flying kick in the leg, another bloke was hit in the head with a stick with a Chinese flag attached to it and our banners were torn down," Mr Paterson said.
"When I looked around there were three or four guys who I can only assume were Chinese who wanted to fight me.
"This gang of thugs rolled right through us and we had kids with us. My daughter was still shaking an hour later..."
"We were just a small group of people basically exercising our right, our responsibility to say 'We don't think this is correct'," he said.
Another pro-Tibet protester, Marion Vecourcay, said she felt frightened and threatened by the Chinese demonstrators.
"They mobbed the sign, they were really aggressive, insulting and swearing," she said.
"They said we have no right to be here but I live up the street.
"It was just a mob mentality."
Pro-China demonstrator Jeff Li...said pro-Tibet protesters were ill-informed.
"These people are idiots, they know nothing about China's history," Mr Li said.
As for the sea of Chinese flags, hundreds were unrolled and unfurled during the singing of the Chinese national anthem, much to the surprise of Olympic organisers, in Australia at least :
Pro-China demonstrators turned out in force in what relay organisers have said was a co-ordinated attempt to "carry the day". A sea of red flags emerged when the Chinese anthem was sung to officially end the relay ceremony.
The pro-China and a rival group of pro-Tibet demonstrators hurled abuse and taunts at each other throughout the entire relay after police forced them onto separate parts of the route. Scuffles broke out and a Chinese flag was burned.
Near the end of the relay, the groups clashed again. Witnesses said pro-Chinese used their flags to hit pro-Tibetans before police again
The Chinese students were mostly non-violent, as has been said, as were the pro-Tibet supporters, but the pro-Tibet supporters didn't have the financial support, psy-op knowledge and bureacracy of a Communist state behind them to help organise and co-ordinate their activities.
And their flags were much, much smaller.