Recently I saw video footage of members of the Chinese government’s Olympic Games Sacred Flame Protection Unit — reportedly from the same paramilitary People’s Armed Police that crush protesters in Beijing and Tibet — roughing up Britons in Britain and Frenchmen in France. It is odd that the Olympic torch is considered more “sacred” than the citizens of other countries (including legendary athletes like Sebastian Coe) on their own soil. As a Christian who believes that individual life is a sacred gift, I pray for people of all faiths, as well as those of no faith, to be less afraid of, and readier to love, one another.

Meanwhile, there is no need for Japan to invite such a unit to rough up Japanese nationals in Japan. Australia has declined to give that unit a role in the Australian capital when and if the torch goes there.

It is sad that ruling circles in China have been so badly advised, but we are all Beijingers and all Tibetans now.

william reis