|Citizens greet bid outcome with glee, tears and outrage (GM) The Globe and Mail July 14, 2001
Cheuk Kwan's stomach sank. Helen Wu was diplomatically gleeful. Tony Tam was disappointed, yet felt stirrings of ancestral pride. And Tenzin Dolker-Mentuh burst into tears that hardened to anger.
The reaction of Chinese-Canadians and Tibetans to the outcome of the 2008 Olympic bid yesterday, was diverse, complicated and anything but predictable in the hours after Beijing's second-ballot win -- ranging from the practised neutrality of a Falun Gong follower in Edmonton to the dashed hopes of a young Toronto sports fan to the pragmatism of a Vancouver financial advisor who expects new capital to flow into the Pacific Rim.
And while nobody soft-pedalled China's dismal human-rights record, opinions were divided among Chinese Canadians as to whether granting the 2008 Olympics to Beijing would, in fact, compel the world's most populous nation to adopt democratic reforms.
"We are being naively hopeful that by bringing the Games to Beijing that it will have positive influences," said a disappointed Mr. Kwan, chairman of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China who milled among the pancake-eating hordes anticipating the announcement in front of Toronto's Union Station yesterday morning.
"In the 1991 Asian Games they hosted, they rounded up the homeless and migrant workers and sheltered them somewhere else. And secondly, they arrested more dissidents to make sure everybody was speaking with the same voice," he said.
Prof. Wu is more sanguine. A senior lecturer on Asian Studies at the University of Toronto, she found herself delighted with the results.
"I am happy for Beijing -- I would have been happy for Toronto, too -- that's the advantage of being Chinese-Canadian," the Shanghai-born academic said sunnily. "The winning of the Games will affect China's human rights for the better," she said.
Some of the indigent may find themselves uprooted, Prof. Wu said, but she argued such displacement would occur in any city that was awarded the Games.
"Any city -- Atlanta, Sydney included -- will remove undesirable people from the street."
Ms. Dolker-Mentuh felt betrayed. Yesterday, the president of the Toronto Chapter of the Canada Tibet Committee and 100 supporters took in the announcement emotionally. By the afternoon, they were wielding placards in front of the Chinese consulate in Toronto and yelling "Shame, Shame, IOC."
"We are definitely outraged that the IOC has chosen to overlook the systematic abuse and occupation of Tibet since 1949," she said.
Chi Yeh, an Edmonton-based practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual group outlawed in China, took a measured approach.
"We're not against any country hosting the Olympics," he said. "But if discrimination in China becomes worse, the international community should boycott the event."
Loyalties were divided for software development manager Tony Tam who snuck away from a conference call at the Mississauga offices of Motorola Canada yesterday to find out that Beijing won the bid.
"It is a signal of China's coming of age as a country to be reckoned with," he said, though he admitted he was rooting for Toronto.
Vancouver-based financial advisor Richard Chung took the same broad perspective.
"In terms of what the global scene will get out of it, Beijing is the better choice -- there has been a lot of corporate interest in Beijing," he said yesterday, noting that China's economic output is projected to surpass that of the United States in the next 5-10 years.
Mr. Chung intends to visit Beijing as the city prepares for the 2008 Olympics. But Edcon Yau, a 22-year-old part-time sports broadcaster with a Richmond Hill-based Chinese-Canadian TV network, was palpably disappointed yesterday.
He was hoping to see the 2008 Olympic Games up close -- in Toronto -- as opposed to on television.
"I definitely wanted Toronto to win," Mr. Yau said.
Only Prof. Wu was immovably upbeat: "The Toronto bid team did a great job," she said yesterday. "But now I don't have to worry about paying more taxes. That's a relief!" -----------------------
China's win is humanity's loss: critics Widespread condemnation: 'It's the last low blow from Samaranch,' says French politician
Michael Higgins National Post, with files from news services
France yesterday took the lead in condemning Beijing's victory in the Olympic vote as a shameful decision that flouted human rights.
Many of the countries who were bidding against Beijing greeted the International Olympic Committee vote with a muted response. But the criticism from Paris, which garnered just 18 votes, was scathing.
FranÁois Loncle, the Socialist chairman of the French parliament's foreign affairs committee, was furious.
"How can beach volleyball and triathlon competitions be held on Tiananmen Square where the Chinese army bloodily destroyed the 1989 democracy movement?" he asked yesterday. "The decision by the IOC goes towards justifying a repressive political system that each day flouts freedom and violates human rights.
"Following the example of Nazi Germany in 1936 and the Soviet Union in 1980, communist China will use [the Games] as a powerful propaganda instrument destined to consolidate its hold on power."
The Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights demanded an inquiry into the IOC's decision.
"The Federation considers the choice of Beijing as Olympic city, without taking any account of the human rights situation in China and without receiving any guarantees in this area, is a decision contrary to the fundamental principles of the Olympic code," the group said in a statement.
Mr. Loncle added: "It's the last low blow from Samaranch. In his 21-year reign, he has transformed the Games into a multinational firm given up to mercantilism, gigantism and corruption."
At Paris city hall, where the team that put together the city's bid had gathered to watch the results of the vote, there was disappointment but a more diplomatically worded reaction.
"We are all very disappointed, of course, but at the same time we all wish Beijing good luck," said Assistant Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
French IOC member Henri Serandour said: "We were beaten and we have to accept this defeat as such. There can be no talk of exacting revenging or finding out who abandoned us.
"We will now see if there can be a new bid from France and learn the lessons of this experience.
"The [IOC] evaluation commission said we had a top quality bid. There's a discrepancy between the number of votes we got and the quality of our presentation."
Reaction was low key in Japan, where the Foreign Minister, Makiko Tanaka, said the news was "disappointing." She congratulated China, extended hopes for a successful Olympics, and offered any co-operation that might be desired.
Osaka's vice-mayor Toshio Dozaki said: "It was unexpected to finish last, but when Mayor [Takafumi] Isomura gets back on Sunday we'll discuss the possibility of bidding for the Games again.
"Osaka is aiming to be an international city which can welcome visitors from all over the world. For that reason, we definitely want to get the Games eventually," he said.
Tokyo hosted the first Olympics in Asia in 1964 and Sapporo staged the 1972 Winter Games. Nagano, located between Tokyo and Sapporo, also hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998.
Few of Istanbul's 12 million people, as they grapple with an economic crisis that has halved the value of their currency and thrown many of them out of work, believed Istanbul would be awarded the prize this time.
Bid organizers said Istanbul, making its third consecutive bid and on the short list for the first time, had won more votes than expected.
"We got more votes than Paris in the first round," said Togay Bayatli, head of Turkey's National Olympic Committee. "That's a sign that we can win in the future."
"We have to start our new bid tomorrow," said Mesut Yilmaz, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister. "Istanbul is the favourite for the 2012 Olympics."
Yesterday, tens of thousands of people flooded into Tiananmen Square to celebrate Beijing's victory.
Twelve years ago it was packed with students and workers demonstrating for political change.
But on June 3, 1989, 40,000 soldiers of the 27th Peoples Liberation Army moved into China's capital in hundreds of armoured vehicles with orders to end six weeks of demonstrations and clear Tiananmen Square.
The exact number killed that night has never been tallied, but estimates range up to 7,000, with more than 20,000 wounded. Princess Urged To Reveal Olympic Vote