Interview with musician Ember Swift: on building bridges with Chinese music, language & ways of acting for change

This week on my regular shift on 4ZZZ FM, (Brisbane’s independent music and news radio station), I interviewed Ember Swift, an interesting Canadian-born musician and advocate for activism.  She recently made her fourth appearance at the Woodford Folk Festival, and is playing her final Australian show this weekend on Saturday night (Jan 23) at The…

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Best blog posts of 2008

Once again this Club Troppo and Online Opinion have joined to reproduce a collection of  some of the best blog posts of 2008.  They are featuring regularly at Online Opinion throughout January. I’ve had some of my pieces published in the collection in previous years. I didn’t expect to have a piece featured this year,…

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Do-it ourselves censorship

This report from Reporters Without Borders details the decision by European satellite company, Eutelsat, to stop broadcasts into Asia of an independent US based Chinese-language broadcaster NTDTV, using the dubious claim that the halt is due to a ‘technical problem’. NTDTV includes stories on human rights issues amongst its coverage, and not surprisingly the Chinese…

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Shock! Authoritarian dictatorship restricts information & breaks public pledge – who could have predicted it?

The International Olympic Committee has been putting on a gold medal performance with their attempts to look surprised by the Chinese government’s brazen censorship of the internet and restrictions on the actions of journalists, in breach of the pledges they made when the were awarded the Games. Here’s a link to the IOC’s Fundamental “Principles”…

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Torching the Olympic spirit

When the Olympic Torch made its brief stop over for a run around the block in Canberra last week, Australia’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials gushed about the “values of the Olympic movement”, coupled with some tsk-tsking about pesky protestors ‘hijacking’ that movement for their political agendas. It seems to me that the many people,…

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Agreeing with Peter Slipper: on Gosper and hatred

First I was agreeing with Greg Sheridan, and now I find myself agreeing with long-serving Qld Liberal MP, Peter Slipper, who has strongly criticised Kevan Gosper, Australia’s senior member of the International Olympic Committee, for his ridiculous slurs against pro human rights and Tibet protestors as “professional spoilers filled with hate and resentment”. The IOC’s repeatedly justified…

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Agreeing with Greg Sheridan!

I think it would be an understatement to say that over many years I haven’t often agreed with most of what Greg Sheridan, a foreign affairs commentator with The Australian, has written. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the feeling is mutual.) However, I have to say I agree very much with his recent comments on human…

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Kevin Rudd on Beijing Olympics

Kevin Rudd is reported as saying he still hasn’t made up his mind whether or not to attend the Beijing Olympics. “What we’ve said to the Chinese consistently since then is that we’re not in a position to confirm whether we would go, it will depend entirely on timing constraints as we get closer to…

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Kosovo and self-determination

I’ve been in Taiwan for the last couple of days, participating in a conference on human rights in China in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics which start in less than six months. The population of Taiwan is about 23 million, which is slightly more than Australia’s which currently stands at a bit over…

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Supporting Burma and the role of China

I attended a rally today, held in St Mary’s Catholic Church at South Brisbane, in support of the growing global campaign for human rights, democracy and freedom for the people of Burma. There was a similar rally in Brisbane’s Queen’s Park last Friday which I also spoke at, and another yesterday which I didn’t manage…

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Ring the bells that still can ring

I attended an interesting function today in the Chinatown Mall in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. It was the unveiling of a commemorative Chinese bell, dedicated to all Australian military service personnel of Chinese heritage, past and present. The bell is 1.41 meters tall and 0.91 metres in diameter. Weighing in at 1080 kilograms, I think it…

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Organ Harvesting – updated

There was a good turnout at the forum at Brisbane’s City Hall tonight on the report into allegiations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China – probably about 100 people. Allegations of a calculated practice of killing political prisoners on demand to use their organs for transplants are so confronting and enormous that…

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