Locals Angered By Protests over Olympic Torch

April 8, 2008 8:46:39 PM PDT
A Fresno man says a group he's involved with declined to take part in the Olympic Torch carrying ceremony because of safety issues.Many in the Valley's Chinese community are saddened by protests over the torch's presence in the Bay Area.

Protestors this week unfurled the message, "Free Tibet" on the Golden Gate Bridge. Tibet has been under communist China rule for almost six decades. The Tibetans' push for independence has now taken the national stage.

Fresno State professor Franklin Ng says "For China it is an embarrassing situation. This was to be their Olympic moment to project the idea that China had finally arrived."

Tom Gong says his group, the Chinese Benevolent Association, was invited to join the torch carrying ceremony in San Francisco but it opted out. "We were worried that our association members would get involved and then get injured or something so we didn't take part."

The sight of protestors was very disturbing to a group of local leaders in the Chinese community. Keith Chun, a former Fresno Unified School Board member, says "Maybe this group is thinking hey, the U.S. is giving money here and there. Just become an independent country and ask for aid because we're so poor."

Hundreds have gathered in the Bay Area to show support for Tibet. They're protesting China's crackdown on dissenters in Tibet. Retired professor Hugo Sun says "Maybe they have their own agenda. They think Tibet should be as it was 100 years ago."

Pro-Tibet rallies have been staged along the Olympic torch route ... in Athens, London, Paris and now San Francisco. Eugene Wong of the Chinese Cultural Association says "It's politically instigated trying to disrupt and destroy the Olympic Games."


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