China’s jinx:

After facing major protests in London and Paris as the Olympic torch made stops on its journey to Beijing, the Chinese government is said to be looking for a public relations firm to patch up China’s image before the 2008 Games in August. In the spirit of the Olympic ideals, we are prepared to help China — free of charge.

Here’s what you do: Stop arresting dissidents. Stop spreading lies about the Dalai Lama, and start talking to him about greater religious and cultural freedoms for Tibet. Stop being an enabler to Sudan in its genocide in Darfur. In other words, start delivering on the pledge you made to the International Olympic Committee to respect human rights — which, by the way, include the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly.

Since the Chinese government does not hesitate to whip up “spontaneous demonstrations” in favour of its policies, it’s not a stretch for it to presume that foreign “enemies” are doing the same along the route of the torch. Nobody expected China to democratise overnight, and, given the country’s mighty economic power, nobody really wants to antagonise Beijing. But a nation that applies to host the Olympic Games also must demonstrate that it is worthy of the honour. China has only itself to blame for messing up its coming-out party. — The New York Times