Unless you live under a rock somewhere, you’ve no doubt heard about the (mis)adventures occurring in London, Paris and San Francisco as the Olympic torch makes its torturous way toward a Tibet-inspired disaster in Beijing this summer.
My view is pretty simple, we should all do our utmost at home and abroad to make sure these Olympics are a disaster, are boycotted, and more importantly, are a thorough embarrassment to the Chinese government. Embarrassment, and more so, avoiding it and saving face, is a key motivator in China. Humililation works. The world has a real opportunity to shame the current Chinese government into doing something about not only its actions in Tibet, but its human rights/media rights progroms, its treatment of falun gong members, and its shameful environmental policies.
Now, sure, there are people who feel we should be doing something about wrongs that exist within our own borders first before getting all high-and-mighty with China. And sure, Canada should be doing more for its Native Canadians. And sure, America should be doing something about the embarrassment that is Guantanamo Bay. But to operate solely with an inward eye in this day and age is pure folly when faced with the reality the world is a global family. Approaching things with an American protectionist point-of-view may have worked in the 1930s but the world is far too interconnected today to warrant such antiquated approaches.
Others sprout some silliness about the distinction between ‘sport’ and ‘politics’ and their need to be dealt with as separate issues. While the altruistic spirit in me agrees; the reality in this day and age is that governments – and the Chinese government in particular – play a paramount, heavy-handed role in nurturing, financing and supporting sport and the development of their athletes. Heck, the Chinese government handpicks kids at birth to become star athletes. Suggesting ‘sport’ and ‘politics’ are different and distinct does nothing more than demonstrate a woefully inadequate knowledge of the sport machines federal governments throughout much of the world operate.
That said, I will continue to pester local politicans to see the error of their ways. Mayor Miller, whom I’ve met and chatted with at his Not-for-profit CEO roundtables, is wrong to be heading to our sister city in China at this time. I will continue to support and advocate for Canada to boycott the summer games. I will not support Canadian companies that are supporting these Olympics. I will continue to email my elected representatives to make my thoughts clear and seek their support in boycotting these games. And I will continue to support all non-violent actions that champion this cause … including the disruption of the torch relay.
What will you do? …..
china is a very “political” country itself, as it relates everything to politics.olympics is seen as a national prestige and helps to improve international image. this is what they chinese government thinks. it’s they that relates politics to sports.
but i am not sure that boycott does china good. if all boycotts the 2008 olympics, why does the olympic committee grant them the right to host the game in the first place? what i hope that is the international media would take this opportunity to expose the various problems that have been keeping in the dark for so many years. if china is not going international at all, there will never be any improvements.
@christao408 – @ElusiveWords – @curry69curry – interesting thoughts, but the question is: what will you do? I cannot do nothing. Doing nothing surrenders lives to fate. Doing nothing stifles hope. Doing nothing abandons the belief in, and power of, change and our ability to effect it as humans. Doing nothing kowtows to the fatalistic belief that since something has historically always been a certain way, that that’s okay, and will forever be so. Doing nothing legitimizes a regime and its actions. Silence is the most dangerous “action” any human can take with regard to an issue because silence equals acceptance.
I concur with Chris. In fact, it was on the news today that the Dalai Lama did support the Olympics!Anyway, it’s fortunate for us to live in a country where freedom of expression is a way of life…those poor souls in the Middle Kingdom are not so!
I don’t know of boycotts will do any good. I fear this regime will simply become more entrenched. My family (on my mom’s side especially) has paid a heavy price as have many others. I just don’t think this regime responds at all to boycotts. Provocative entry – thanks for sharing.
I have written letters and taken part in some protests in the local area.
I’m divided on the issue right now. While I don’t support the efforts of China with regards to Tibet, I think there is a long view to be had. Boycotting the Olympics or trying to disrupt the path of the flame makes for a real sense of accomplishment and exciting footage on the TV, but I’m curious if it will have any impact on what China sees as an internal matter.
While the concept of face is important in Chinese culture, I’m not sure that applies to Chinese state politics. Historically (2,000+ years) they have done pretty much whatever they damn well please regardless of what the international community thinks.
Additionally, given the way the media works and the general lack of historical knowledge among the general public, I’m not sure that most of us are in a position to really have all the information we need to make a good judgement. Heck, even the Dalai Lama has said for the past two decades that Tibetan independence is not necessarily the goal and that there is room for a peaceful co-existence with Tibet as part of China.
I don’t know, but it makes for many interesting things to think about. Thanks for the post.
Amen to that! Shame on the Chinese government. Their views and objectives for a non-politicized Olympics serve as excuses to masquerade the oppression of civil rights, the nationalization of media, and the suppression of political freedoms and individual liberties.I agree that sports and politics can be separate, but participating in a sporting event conducted by a host whose resume includes silencing political opposition and kidnapping journalists and civil rights activists is basically (implicitly) condoning these actions of the government.