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    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Monday, August 02, 2004  
    As the countdown to the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics begins (only eleven days away), my sources in Beijing inform me that the countdown to Beijing 2008 has already begun.
    Military and police personal stormed the houses of scores of political dissidents in the Chinese capital in the early hours of the morning, administering them cautionary warning Chinese burns* ("next time it's death by Chinese burn!").
    China regularly cracks down on known dissidents ahead of its hosting of international events or visits in an attempt to stifle and suppress embarrassing protests under the international spotlight.
    The 1983 UN Playground Convention, which China doesnt recognize, banned Chinese burns but the practice is still widespread there as well as in Chinese restaurants all over the world.
    Chinese authorities have denied the crackdown and denied Amnesty International allegations that confessions are tickled out of prisoners in Chinese jails.
    I don't recognize the convention either – I'm trying to import Chinese burns to Lebanon by administering them to my little cousins who will, hopefully, administer them to other children, who will hopefully administer them to other children ad infinitum.

    *To those who didn’t have the benefit of attending an Australian primary school, a Chinese burn is when both hands are placed, side by side, on the victim's forearm and are then twisted in opposing directions in a wringing motion (don't try this at home!)
    Note : Chinese burns are not to be confused with Scotish Burns - Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, who, most famously, wrote the words of the song that has become synonymous with New Year's Eve ( Abba's Happy New Year ).

    1:34 pm

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