With demonstrators disrupting the progress of the Olympic torch, six Chinese people reflect on the protests and meaning of the Games.
ZHONGZE, 25, STUDENT, ANHUI PROVINCE, CHINA
Like many others in China, I am really saddened and enraged by the chaotic scenes in London and Paris.
The failure of the French government to protect the torch in Paris has already aroused an outcry amongst Chinese people in cyberspace.
Dozens have posted suggestions of French brands that should be boycotted in response.
I agree that our country does have human rights problems. For example, there is a general lack of freedom. With regard to Tibet, I don't support everything our government does - and have even posted apologies on YouTube following events in 2006.
But those protesters should wait until a more appropriate time to take a stand.
I e-mailed Reporters Without Borders to say I support their cause - but they are choosing the wrong time to take a stand. The demonstrators are in danger of making an enemy of everyone in China.
We are very excited and proud about the Olympics. I really hope they will be harmonious and magnificent.
The best outcome would be improved communication between people inside and outside China - with the Games helping to reduce fear of foreigners within the nation.
ZHIFU FAN, 20, STUDENT, DALIAN, CHINA
I really can't agree with those so-called democrats who urge China to give greater freedom to Tibetans, or raise the issue of Darfur.
Look at what the US and UK have done to Iraq. Will these people protest over the London Olympic Games?
We Chinese people love European countries, but the protesters are wrong when it comes to Tibet - which has been part of China for more 1,000 years.
I also disagree with the action of celebrities like Steven Spielberg. He is still living in America - and look at that country's record with regard to Guantanamo Bay.
The Olympics should be a chance for the world to see a new China and help people learn more about our country.
I am happy that we are hosting the Games, but not proud as such - it just means China has become rich enough to host this huge sporting event!
LAN WANG, 34, PROFESSOR, LIVING IN SINGAPORE
Many Western people misunderstand China and Beijing's policy in regard to Tibet.
And this is made worse by the way the Western media portrays the country. I read news from the BBC and CNN very often and I feel stories crudely stereotype China.
China is actually doing a lot to develop the Tibet region.
For example, Tibetan education is poor - so ethnic Tibetans, along with other minorities, are allowed into university with lower scores than ethnic Han Chinese to boost their chances.
China has also poured money into the region to increase development.
You also have to realise that Tibetan society was far from perfect before China entered the region.
My father was in the army in the 1950s and he tells me how unfair society was before the Chinese arrived. It was essentially a feudal system.
I think everyone has the right to protest, but they should do so peacefully, like the Dalai Lama suggested.
We, the Chinese people, are very proud to be hosting the Games for the first time. These violent protests are making Chinese people feel angry.
We feel some Western people and governments have a hidden agenda: they don't want China to become a powerful country.
HANWEN LIAO, 33, RESEARCH FELLOW, LIVING IN LONDON
I was in London during the torch relay and was terrified to see the violence and chaos created by the protesters.
As a man living in the West for quite a long time, I totally support everyone's right to express their feelings and opinions.
But what happened during the torch relay put ordinary civilians in danger.
The violent protests damage not only the image of the Olympics, but also the way ordinary Chinese people see the Dalai Lama and the political system of the West.
The consensus here in the UK seems to be that the Games are nothing but a parade by the Chinese government.
This is totally misleading. Ordinary Chinese people do feel very proud of the Beijing Games. We have long been dreaming of the Olympic flame being lit in China.
The Dalai Lama himself said that the 1.3 billion Chinese people deserve the Olympics, and this is about a dream of the people not the government.
I understand that many feel strongly about the Tibet issue and don't know how else to let the Chinese government know how they feel. But it is a complex matter, and I suggest people instead visit China and Tibet to see the situation with their own eyes and draw their own conclusions.
JINJIE CHEN, 32, LAWYER, BEIJING
The Beijing Olympics should actually be about an improved dialogue with the world
There is no excuse for linking the issue of Tibet and the Olympic Games.
The Games should actually be a golden opportunity to improve communication between China and the rest of the world.
I have spent time abroad, and I think people greatly misunderstand the reality of modern China. This stems from the fact that most Westerners have not visited our country.
I'll give you an example of this confusion. While I was in the UK, I was asked by one man whether it was true that 60% of the population was in the Communist Party. Other people seemed to think we were still a fully communist society. People still seemed to view us through the prism of the Cold War.
I also believe there is a growing hostility towards China. I think this may be because China is developing so fast - at a greater speed than anyone could have imagined.
The economy is now performing better than the economies of many other nations. And so people feel threatened by our advance.
All this goes to show that the Beijing Olympics should actually be about an improved dialogue between China and the rest of the world.
Improved communication will benefit everyone.
LIU XIAOXI, 37, PROFESSOR, LIVING IN JAPAN
I was in China again recently for a couple of weeks, and I noticed how immensely proud people are of the Olympics.
And I feel very proud. This a great opportunity for a developing country, a chance for us to communicate with the world. Which just makes me feel more angry with the way the Western media has portrayed the protests over the Olympics.
The focus has always been on the negative side. But there are many pro-China protesters too - for example there were large numbers on the streets of San Francisco.
Of course, it is a good idea to try and improve human rights in China. But the US has human rights issues too, and so does Britain.
In general I think politics and sport should be separated. Look at the history of the Games. When the US and the former Soviet Union boycotted one another's Games - did this achieve anything?
I also think the Dalai Lama has been inconsistent. He says he wants protests without violence - yet we see the violence across the world, from the burning of shops in Tibet to the action in London and Paris.
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