I have been torn about the Olympics controvery for some time and haven’t said much here because of my contradicting concerns.
Generally, I believe that the concept of the Olympics has merit. The original Olympics was an actual time of truce in which all of the wars stopped for the games. Today, the wars continue on during the Olympics, but at least in principal there is the idea that the games provide a chance for all nations (even enemies) to come together and compete against each other in a context other than war. And as a child of the 80’s, I felt that dueling boycotts of the USA and USSR of the games were an unfortunate thing.
However, the situation in China is atrocious right now. I understand that not all of my readers will agree with me, but from my perspective (as a person of a Democratic-Socialist political persuasion), China is currently on a horrible path. It has adopted the worst of both of the dominant political systems of the last century: from the USSR model a repressive and totalitarian political environment, and from the USA model, a cut-throat capitalist system that is widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
More precisely, the PROC (People’s Republic of China) regime is committing the following wrongs as I see it…
1. It imprisons independent journalists and anyone who dares to ask too many questions.
2. Contrary to the rosy views of some (including my alma mater, OCU School of Law) it is now cracking down on the rights of Attorneys.
3. It horribly censors the Internet.
4. It persecutes people of all faiths (including Buddhists, Christians and practioners of Falon Gong).
5. It is treating the rural poor like dirt, while allowing the upper classes to become filthy rich.
6. It has “one-child-only” policies that force parents to abort pregnancies after their first child’s birth.
7. It continues to enslave the people of Tibet.
8. It continues to imprison many of the brave young men and women who protested at Tiannenmen Square in 1989.
9. It is rapidly arming itself to the teeth (of the USA is a far bigger wrong-doer in this regard, but the USA being wrong doesn’t make the PROC right).
This is only the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even touched issues such as environmental justice, the rights of other ethnic minorities in China besides the Tibetans, etc.
The more I think about it, the spectacle of the Olympics is just that, a spectacle. I wish it actually represented the values of fair sport and peace, but it doesn’t today. Instead it is big money-making racket that is being used to give legitmacy to one of the most represive regimes on earth.
For me, reading this website (HRICHINA.org) is what pushed me to the point of deciding to publicly protest the Beijing Olympics. Things are not only bad in China, but are getting worse, and that worsening of the situation I think is in large part due to the Olympics.
So that’s why I’m taking the stance that I am. I encourage all of my readers to follow the link on the side of this blog to the Reporters without Borders website to read more about the situation and planned actions of protest.