The China Conundrum
This week is set to be an interesting parade of protests over the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As far as other countries go, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have stated their intentions to not attend the games. French President Nicholas Sarkozy has left the door open, with possible conditions. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown intends to attend, but has established a sort of “wait-and-see” policy. President Bush is allying with the French and British on this one, in the wake of Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton calling for an opening ceremony boycott. If, in fact, the US boycotts the 2008 Olympics, it will have been the first of the sort in 28 years.
The torch protests in London and Paris and Golden Gate protests in San Francisco are likely to trigger increased protests in other torch-bearing countries. However, these protests are less about China’s human rights record and more about the old “Free Tibet” caper. If these left-wing protesters want something to protest about, how about China’s communist, oppressive government? It’s suppression of civil liberties? Pollution problems in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai? It’s destruction of archaeological sites and murder of stray animals in Beijing in the building process of Olympic stadium? The rights of the workers building the complex? Chinese spying on America, especially the Pentagon?
While I don’t agree with most of the premises in this article, I did find something interesting. Last fall, in Shanghai, the Special Olympics were held. Where were the protestors then? Even though the Paralympics are held simultaneously with the Olympics, I still find it odd that, as far as I know, nobody protested the idea of China holding the Special Olympics.
Considering all of the facts, and China’s repeated violations (including national security,) China had better have a darned good reason why President Bush should attend the opening ceremony. The “spirit of Olympic unity” is not enough. China needs to clean up its act, and fast. I would have to rule that Sarkozy has the right idea in this situation.