Pelosi calls for peaceful protest of Olympic torch

Tomorrow’s the big day when the Olympic Torch will be carried through the streets of San Francisco, met not only by Olympic enthusiasts and proud Chinese-Americans but also by protestors opposed to China’s crackdown in Tibet; China’s support of the Sudanese regime which has perpetrated the Darfur genocide; China’s trade with the oppressive regime in Burma; China’s use of sweatshop labor; China’s animal-rights violations; and more.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is cool with that, according to a statement she issued this afternoon:

pelosi12-14-06.jpg“The Olympic Charter states that the goal of the Olympic games should be to promote ‘a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.’ The Chinese government has failed to live up to the commitments it made before being awarded the Olympic games to improve its human rights situation. In fact, there is disturbing new evidence that it is conducting a broader crackdown on human rights in China and Tibet because of the Olympics.

“For the next four months, the International Olympic Committee and Chinese officials will parade the Olympic torch through dozens of countries and even through Tibet. The torch will be met by politicians and heads-of-state from all over the world along a ‘journey of harmony.’ It is the Chinese government that is making the Olympic torch relay a political event.

“Freedom-loving people around the world are vigorously protesting because of the crackdown in Tibet and Beijing’s support for the regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma. The people are making a significant statement that the Olympic ideals of peace and harmony should apply to all people, including those in Tibet and Darfur.

“San Francisco is blessed by a large and vibrant Chinese American community. As San Franciscans, we embrace the diversity of our community and we value the contributions made in every corner of our great city. We also value free expression, and this week, many will exercise this right by demonstrating against the Olympic torch. I urge all those who protest to do so peacefully and respectfully. I commend those who speak out for their commitment to shining a light on the causes that challenge the conscience of the world.”

Watch for complete, oft-updated coverage of the Olympic torch’s odyssey through San Francisco on Wednesday at www.insidebayarea.com

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • I do hope that we don’t let the athletes take the pain and have any talk of a boycott. The only person that gets injured in an Olympic boycott is the athlete!