So the Canberra leg of the Olympic Torch Relay was a huge success, according to the organisers. Then again, the organisers were inside the metal barricades surrounded by hundreds of police, not outside it where protestors exercising their right to free speech were attacked, berated or intimidated by Chinese students organised by their embassy. The only thing that was missing was the convenient discovery of a plot to blow the whole thing up, of the kind the Chinese government manage to produce every time they sense world opinion hardening against them.

Moreover, it was the fault of pro-Tibetan protestors if they were attacked, according to organiser Ted Quinlan.

“Some protestors were taunting Chinese people,” he told Canberra’s ABC News on Thursday night when asked about the intimidation.

I didn’t see too much Tibetan abuse while I was there, but I did see a number of protestors being shouted at or mobbed by groups of students for daring to hold up a sign they disagreed with.

And as a talkback caller told the ABC, there was nary an Olympic flag or symbol to be seen. If nothing else, you have to respect the Chinese for dispensing with the internationalist bullsh-t that gets peddled about the Olympics. This is about the motherland, thanks very much. One China. One dream.

But if the ugly face of Chinese jingoism (it might be too soon to deploy “sino-fascism”, even for The Australian) isn’t enough to put you off the torch relay, its carbon footprint just might. Chadwick Matlin at Slate has been keeping track of the carbon emissions associated with the torch relay, calculating it will be equivalent to the emissions for a year from more than 150 Americans. That’s without factoring in the flatulence produced by the butchers of Beijing, Olympic officials and their lackeys like Quinlan when they open their mouths to defend this farce.

And yes, before everyone writes in to complain, an Australian criticising someone else’s carbon footprint is definitely the pot calling the kettle, um, whatever colour carbon is.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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