Saturday, March 29, 2008

Assignment #18

The disruption of a Chinese official’s speech during the Olympic torch lighting ceremonies in Greece last week was just the beginning of protests planned along the torch’s trip around the globe.

Groups have criticized China’s policies in other areas, particularly Sudan's Darfur crisis. But the pro-Tibet network, spread around the world, is more organized and interconnected than other groups, and its influence is expected to keep the issue of autonomy and violence in Tibet front and center for weeks.

That is troubling news for sponsors of the torch relay, including Coca Cola, Lenovo and Samsung Electronics. Advertising analysts estimate the companies have paid as much as $15 million each to sponsor the relay.

“What started off as a small number of organizations threatening to create some disruption has gotten bigger,” said a marketing agenct.

A well-organized and far-reaching band of Tibet support groups is centering around the torch relay. The torch moves next to Beijing, then to Almaty, Kazakhstan; Istanbul; St. Petersburg, Russia; London; Paris; San Francisco; and Buenos Aires, before heading to Africa and the Middle East. It then goes through Asia and Australia, before winding its way through Chinese provinces, including Tibet, before the start of the Olympics in August. Planning is under way for protests in most of the major cities outside China.

The communications manager for Coca-Cola, Kerry Kerr, said, “We are keeping an eye on the situation,” but added that the company was not involved in picking the cities involved in the relay.

“We feel that using the torch relay to put political pressure on China is not appropriate,” Ms. Kerr said. Still, Coke has had several meetings with protest groups, she said, and is sharing the groups’ concerns with the International Olympic Committee.

Coca-Cola is not speaking directly with the Chinese government on the issue.

In a written statement, another sponsor, Samsung Electronics of South Korea, said the company “has been in dialogue with activist groups, and has also been in regular communication with the International Olympic Committee.”

Lenovo, a Chinese PC maker, did not respond to several requests for comment.

None of the dozen advocates contacted suggested that Coca-Cola or other sponsors should pull out of the torch relay. But even former members of pro-Tibetan groups say they are looking for some sign the sponsors are aware of the criticisms of the Chinese government.

Advertisers like Coca-Cola “have to have some responsibility to humanity” and have to react to current events, said Ramneek Bhogal, an assistant professor at the Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa, who as a student, led a chapter of Students for a Free Tibet.

Protest groups have been particularly angry at the relay’s planned route through Tibet and over Mount Everest, saying that is sure to ignite more violence. Many groups are calling for a route change, but so far both the Beijing organizers and the International Olympic Committee say it will continue as planned.

Violence flared in Tibet after monks staged protests on March 10, the anniversary of a failed uprising against China. Tibetan groups say protesters were beaten, arrested and in some cases killed. They assert that more than 100 have been killed since March 10.

The Chinese government puts the number of dead at 19. Violence spread through the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, and shops and buildings were burned.

Reports of violence in Tibet and a heavy-handed Chinese reaction spread quickly, pushing Tibetan support groups to action.

1.) What do you think about the situation in Tibet and the response of the Chinese government?
2.) What responsibility do you think corporate sponsors have?
3.) Should other countries do anything about the situation in Tibet?

For the Real Article, check out the New York Times:


Anonymous said...

This Assignment is really diffecult for me. I don't really under the situation.
In all aspects, I don't believe that Chinese government will give up controling Tibet. But I really disagree with the decision the Chinese government made. Somehow I think even though there are many people supporting the protests, it won't be success. Anyway, however, the government should protect the people's safety but must not hurt them.

The one who really can effect the result is maybe the sponsors. Without the financail support, the government can not do lots of things. I don't have any opinion with "do they have to continuing sponsoring the torch or not?" What I think the most important is the humanistic care. That is what sponsors should focus on.

A3.China is really a big country. Even though it isn't really rich or strong, it would be one day. So they just have to do the most effort for helping their own countries.

Ha!Ha! This is the first time I came up here! And I am the first one! I really don't know what to write about. This one is too hard for me!!!

Pete said...

Good job, Dorcas. You were the first.
Everyone else, remember we have no class this Friday. Enjoy sweeping tombs!
I will, however, post a new article this Friday for you to do by next week.
See you next week.


William said...

I think other countries should support the protests of stopping the violence. Coca-cola, Samsung, and all the other sponsor should stop supporting the Chinese government on advertising.

I hope other countries who support Tibet can do something to help.

Anonymous said...

China's government always act to other country like they are really kind and they would like to talk to people in Tibet.In the outside it seems like they will forgive Tibet people,but that is impossible that they wii give up controling Tibet.This problem really need other big country (ex:USA,England,France....)to help to fix this problem.
It's a really bid problem.

Anonymous said...

sorry I wrote big to bid