Thousands to rally against 'media bias'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2008, 12:00am

Tens of thousands of overseas Chinese will gather in London, Paris and Berlin on Saturday in rallies that organisers said would 'demonstrate their support for the Beijing Olympics and protest against the biased western media'.

The rallies are part of a global campaign by overseas Chinese also extending to countries such as Canada, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands in the wake of repeatedly disrupted torch relays in London, Paris and San Francisco.

On Sunday, thousands of ethnic Chinese demonstrated outside Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest against the western media's reporting of Beijing's policies in Tibet and neighbouring provinces and the Olympic torch relay.

'It's only natural to hold the rally because the atmosphere is there. Everybody is angry at what happened during the torch relay in Paris and later at what was reported,' said Wu Min , a 27-year-old student at the EmLyon Business School who called for the demonstration in Paris in an online posting.

The Olympic flame was forced to be put out five times, was hidden in a bus and eventually had its route shortened after pro-Tibetan-independence demonstrators disrupted the torch run in Paris on April 7.

'Many, many Chinese people were there on that day, waving national flags and showing their support for Olympics, but there was hardly any mention of us in the press the next day,' Ms Wu said. 'French media gave all the space to the protesters.'

Ms Wu said organisers estimated some 10,000 ethnic Chinese across France would gather at the capital's Place de la Republique to 'let the French people see the other side of the story'. They had prepared pamphlets and photos taken on April 7 but not printed by French newspapers to show what they called biased reporting by the media.

Xia Yang, 23, a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge who spoke for the organisers of the London rally, said it would be a peaceful sit-down at the Old Palace Yard by about 1,000 ethnic Chinese.

In Berlin, more than 2,000 ethnicChinese are expected to parade from 3pm to 5pm in front of the Platz der Republik.