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Bigotry in Beijing

Yesterday, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported that authorities in Beijing are forcing some bars to refuse service to disfavored groups. “Uniformed Public Security Bureau officers came into the bar recently and told me not to serve black people or Mongolians,” said the co-owner of an establishment near the centrally located Workers’ Stadium. Bar owners have been forced to sign pledges on various matters in recent days, and officials have allowed them to keep copies of their promises except for those relating to such refusal of service.

The police deny their security campaign is targeting any particular racial group, but Africans report increased harassment and discrimination in bars. “There’s no human rights here,” said one Liberian woman who is part owner of a Beijing hair solon. “It’s racist and it makes me feel very bad.”

Despite professed solidarity with Africa and Africans, the Chinese government has always treated blacks in Beijing harshly. Last September, for instance, police swooped down on the Sanlitun bar district, rounded up three dozen blacks, and beat some of them severely. Grenada filed a complaint with the Foreign Ministry over the clubbing of its ambassador’s son, who had suffered a concussion and required hospitalization.

The abhorrent discrimination against Africans and other blacks is not the worst aspect of the Chinese government’s obsessive pre-Olympics security sweep–after all, the victims were not shot at a public execution as three Muslim Uighurs were on July 9–yet the incident shows that China should not be hosting the Summer Olympics. Shanghai officials recently admitted to a friend of mine that the International Olympic Committee should have waited a decade before awarding the Games to China.

Of course, none of this matters to President Bush, who next month will travel half way around the world to watch a three-and-a-half-hour spectacle glorifying Chinese communism–and help legitimize a regime that grows uglier by the day.


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