Olympics: Gee whiz, good-bye

By Bob Dietz/Asia Program Coordinator on August 10, 2008 10:41 PM ET

A few days ago I posted a gee-whiz piece about Qik.com, and a brief video piece posted on the site by Noel Hidalgo, who works under the online handle noneck. Hidalgo had beat all the news agencies covering the group of pro-Tibetan demonstrators who climbed two light poles outside the Bird's Nest stadium and managed to stay up there for a few hours, without banners unfurled.

The post can also be found at several Globalvoices sites: Кина: Тибетски протестанти поставија знаме пред олимпискиот стадион... , Cina: striscioni pro-Tibet davanti allo stadio Olimpico... ,  চীন: তিব্বতী বিক্ষোভকারীরা অলিম্পিক স্টেডিয়ামের বাইরে পতাকা উঠিয়েছে... and China: Protestantes Tibetanos levantam bandeira fora do Estádio Olímpico...

It's this sort of replication, supported by social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg (Digg's Olympic page is here) and many others, that give so much impact to the coupling of cell phone and Internet.

How much impact? Certainly enough to get the attention of the Chinese government.

Here comes the buried lead: Noneck's final Qik posting from China was from inside a plane on the runway of Beijing International Airport, where he was waiting for takeoff. Hidalgo had been deported. "Apparently they don't like you to take pictures in China," he said to his cell phone a few minutes before getting airborne.

Hidalgo and many others responded to a competition for videobloggers from groundreport.com, calling for submissions from the Games. "Don't file from inside the Olympic Village, groundreport warned. "We don't want anyone to get in trouble."
(Reporting from Hong Kong)



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