RNW Press Review – Monday 17 March 2008

17th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press by Radio Netherlands.

RNW Press Review – Monday 17 March 2008 – by Georg Schreuder Hes

Nearly all today's papers have pictures of the protest in Tibet on their front pages. So far, at least 10 people, and possibly as many as 100, have been killed in anti-Chinese protests that began on 10 March with a peaceful march marking the anniversary of the 1959 uprising.

De Volkskrant, which has a grainy picture of a young protester being led away by Chinese Soldiers, writes that "young monks are no longer docile", and points out that the protests are not just aimed at the Chinese government, but also at the economic dominance of ethnic Chinese.

In an editorial the paper writes that the protests place the Chinese government with a difficult dilemma: a brutal crackdown will cause serious damage to China's image, whereas restraint could be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

De Volkskrant writes that everything points to China being determined to restore order, and says it will undoubtedly succeed in the short term, but argues that a lasting pacification will require dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader.

Trouw writes that the Chinese propaganda machine is working overtime to present the 'correct' version of events in Tibet. The paper writes that censorship is everywhere; many foreign news sites and blogs have been blocked, and e-mails containing sensitive words cannot be opened or sent.

AD has on its front page a picture of a Tibetan protester who climbed over the fence of the Chinese embassy in The Hague to lower the Chinese flag and raise the Tibetan flag in its stead. Embassy personnel later removed the Tibetan flag.

Dutch riot police intervened when demonstrators started tearing down a fence.

Black schools

Trouw reports that the four main cities have resigned themselves to 'black' intermediate vocational schools. Councillors from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague say that segregation in secondary education is a fact of life.

The paper reports that mixed schools remain the ideal, but the four cities are unable to achieve this. Figures collected by Trouw from the Dutch Statistics Office and the four cities themselves show that at 25 percent of all secondary schools more than 80 percent of the students are of non-Western origin.

Most of these black schools are vocational schools, the ethnic divide largely corresponds with the division into different types of schools: vocational schools are black, higher secondary education schools are white.

Most of the councillors say they want to leave the black-white discussion behind them and are now putting their cards on pre-school education, intended to remedy language problems even before children start primary school.

Wilders, the movie
De Volkskrant reports that 32 percent of the Dutch population want to see Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam film Fitna, which is Arabic for a trial of faith. A recent opinion poll shows that - not unexpectedly - 90 percent of Freedom Party supporters say they will go see the film, followed by about 25 percent of supporters of left-wing parties.

A majority of those interviewed said that Mr Wilders should be allowed to screen his film in the parliament building if this would not be possible elsewhere for security reasons.

Marriage ban
Also in de Volkskrant, Rotterdam Councilor Leonard Geluk says that the government should consider introducing a ban on marriages between relatives. His statement was prompted by a recent study which showed that this type of marriage leads to an increased number of congenital defects and higher levels of infant mortality.

Mr Geluk was shocked by the study, which also showed that one quarter of Rotterdam's citizens of Turkish and Moroccan descent marry a relative. "We have known this for 30 years, but we are highly concerned that there has been no change in those 30 years.

The migrant community apparently is not sufficiently aware that the situation must change".

Elephant piddle
De Telegraaf reports that animal activists protesting against the use of elephants in a circus performance have been sprayed with water pistols filled with elephant urine. Activist who were handing out flyers were reportedly sprayed with elephant urine by a group of clowns and other circus employees just prior to the Saturday evening show.

The paper writes that police officers who were sent to investigate a report of a fight noticed a strange smell and confiscated a water pistol. The circus' ringmaster dismissed the story as nonsense, but added that it did give him an idea.

[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008] 

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