It seems that what happened in the torch relay in Paris has stirred a flurry of controversy in some French media. "Fiasco of torch relay in Paris", declared the headline of the daily newspaper Le Figaro. Another French newspaper, Liberation, talked about China's "rout" in a satirical tone.
Is this the newspaper distinguished long for its professionalism and objectivity? Is this the nation which advocates civility and tolerance?
Surely, Beijing is the city that will host the Olympics; China is the country to host the Olympics. But, the French people should remember that this time Paris, as part of the torch's route, is responsible for the Paris leg. The Paris City Hall and French Olympic Committee were meant to host this event this time. However, the event, which should have been a joyous occasion, descended into chaos and turned out to be a pity. How can some French be unabashed enough to take delight in the scuffles?
According to French media and the opinion of various political leaders, in Paris, every citizen has a right to assemble, demonstrate, and protest. However, as many people pointed out: by trying to grab the torch and extinguish the flame, the pro-Tibet extremists were not expressing a legitimate form of demonstration and protest. They not only violated other people's freedom, but also trampled upon the spirit of Olympics, which should be respected by people all over the world. Remember, in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, it clearly states that freedom means the right to do everything which does not harm others.
"France" is translated into "Country of Law" by the pronunciation of the country's name in Chinese, which mirrors Chinese opinion of the country. But all of a sudden, some so-called "fully civilized" citizens of Paris, editors, journalists, and senators cannot tell right from wrong. They remind us of the young immigrants who burned cars and smashed stores in the civil unrest in 2005 in France. We just wonder since when Paris has, the city of noble artistic elegance, become infected by these kinds of unusual thoughts?
The French surely know that to complete the torch relay is to spread the Olympic Spirit and is also the sacred right of each organizer and participator in the torch relay course. Throughout of the whole proceeding of Olympic torch relay in Paris, many Chinese who live in France did their best to welcome and protect the flame. It is also their sacred right to do so. They expressed their opinions loudly, but their voices were surprisingly filtered by some French media and politicians. It is obvious that some French are indeed confused. Many view the spectacle of Tibet separatists as legitimate but forget the sanctity of the Olympic flame. If their founder of the modern Olympics Pierre De Coubertin was still alive, he would be angered by what is occurring.
The French have a civilization which has contributed tremendously to the world in the fields of politics, economy and culture. Chinese people, to be honest, have always respected the French people. When they were talking about Europe, the first country that came out of their mouth is often France. Nevertheless, this does not mean that French media workers can look down upon the Chinese, not to mention comment on China's so-called poor human rights record. Pride and prejudice have blinded their eyes, and have also overshadowed this beautiful civilized nation.
The French must admit that their capital's performance in the Olympic torch relay was far from good. As far as we can see, the parliament of the "capital of culture" adjourned deliberately when the torch passed its gate. Its only aim was to give its disgruntled members a chance to express their discontentment. We can also see that when Bernard Laporte, the French Secretary of State for Sport, criticized the actions of the extremists that "ridiculed" Olympic values and was "not very good for the image of France", some politicians urged him to clarify which campaign he belongs to and some said "those who do nothing to protect human rights are always found on the side of enemies". Such words are no worse than those heard in the "Cultural Revolution" (1966-1976) in China. In this "capital of culture", all we can see is that some media carefully selected information and modified pictures to meet their special aims, when they bombarded readers with five to six provoking top stories and columns on the topic within two weeks that were not necessarily true.
French newspaper Le Monde delivered two disloyal reports in recent days, which said that "there are three conditions for the French president's attending the Beijing Olympic Games" and "the International Olympic Committee is considering halting the torch relay." Do these reactions and sayings embody the French spirit of liberty, equal and philanthropy? Are these outrageous people our so-called "friends of freedom"?
French media said the Paris torch relay affair was a defeat or a slap in the face. However, it is a slap in the face to a few French. When all the headlines have passed, everyone will know that there's no winner in the affair, but that Paris was the biggest loser.
(China.org.cn, translated from Global Times April 11, 2008)