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Who didn't see the Olympic protests coming - Curt Yeomans

I hate to burst anyone bubble if they are confused about why people would protest the Beijing Olympic Games, but you can't fake shock on this one.

There are so many reasons to expect people to be upset about these Olympics. It should have seemed like a foregone conclusion to the International Olympic Committee that protests would occur.

My question is how the International Olympic Committee can even act surprised by all of this public opposition to China, or that this can easily be smoothed over?

How does one simply overlook oppressive tactics when the principles their country is based on, goes against those tactics.

Those of us who have a problem with China getting to host the Olympic Games can pick from three reasons: communism, Tiananmen Square, or Tibet.

China became a communist nation in 1949.

For those of us who remember life, before Bill Clinton was president, recall the Cold War. For those of you who only know about the Cold War from what you've read in history books, the Soviet Union, and communism as a whole, was the enemy. It was drilled into our brains from an early age.

Communism bad. Democracy and capitalism good.

If you don't believe me and the communism/democracy divide, you can go back and watch any number of movies which portray the "Reds," as they were sometimes called, as the bad guys. It was the duty of democratic nations like the United States, Great Britain and France, to lead the fight against communism.

Remember, the Truman Doctrine, which said the spread of communism would not be tolerated, was issued by an American president.

For those of us who remember that world, communism is still the enemy. It's still scary.

People who lead communist nations, and continue to push communist agendas are still the boogie man to us.

Then, there was Tiananmen Square.

In 1989, a group of students began to peacefully protest the government in Tiananmen Square, which is in Beijing. Now I had to go to the BBC's website to refresh my mind on this. Even though I was 10 when the event occurred, it's still been several years.

On June 3, hundreds of civilians who were protesting in the square were shot by soldiers in China's army. The BBC recalls the events as the army moving in with soldiers and tanks "from several directions, randomly firing on unarmed protesters."

And you thought the Tiananmen Square event began and ended with the man standing in front of a row of tanks.

People with long memories, throughout the world, haven't forgotten about Tiananmen Square.

The biggest issue now is Tibet.

Tibetans have been protesting Chinese rule for decades, but it's always been peacefully. Since the Chinese leaders want to present a perfect image of their country during the Olympics, they are cracking down on dissidents, particularly those in Tibet.

Critics of the government are being suppressed through jail time and other heavy handed efforts. Per reports from National Public Radio (NPR) and CNN, monasteries run by Tibetan monks are being searched. Tourists and foreign journalists are banned from entering Tibet. Ten people already have died during the crackdown, according to NPR.

Chinese officials blame the protesting on the Dalai Lama, who is living in exile.

The government has even begun to air old government propaganda films, which depict Tibetans as being "cruel and primitive" prior to a 1950 invasion by communist soldiers, according to an NPR report.

Earlier this week, people who were protesting the Beijing Olympics scaled the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif., and hung two large banners from the structure's support cables.

One of the banners simply stated "Free Tibet."

Other protests have taken place along the Olympic torch run routes in London, England and Paris, France. The torch had to be extinguished twice in Paris.

That's a big no, no. You're not supposed to let the flame ever go out until the Olympics have concluded.

Officials from several european nations have announced they will not attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Several key politicians in the United States, including presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have called on President George W. Bush to not attend the opening ceremonies either.

Another presidential candidate, John McCain, was on the television show "The View" this week and said he would not attend the opening ceremonies if he were the president.

As you can see, there's really no reason why anyone should be surprised by the protests against the Beijing Olympics. Anyone who reviews the country's past can come up with a reason.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.