Sunday, 13 April 2008

Public discontent with China, and what to do about it

According to a Zogby poll,

70% Believe IOC Was Wrong to Award Olympic Games to China

48% believe U.S. political officials should not attend the opening ceremony due to China's poor human rights record

Feelings are even stronger in Europe, with the EU Parliament voting in favor of restrictions on attending the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing this summer due not only to China's overall human rights record but to its treatment of demonstrators in Tibet (FREE TIBET!). World leaders such as Britain's Gordon Brown and France's Sarkozy are refusing to attend the opening ceremony, and President Bush has been pressured to do so as well.

However not all are sure that a boycott would be a good thing.
71% believe any boycott of the Olympic Games in China by the U.S. would be hypocritical because the U.S. imports so many products from China and retains relatively close diplomatic ties with China that the U.S. has essentially endorsed China’s human rights record.

I'd say a total boycott of the Olympics would not be a good idea, but national leaders sitting out on the opening ceremony is a strong and righteous move, even if it is ineffective. Some say that we should not be mixing politics with sport, but China brought this upon itself with its atrocious conduct. Having visited China, I've witnessed firsthand the restrictions on fundamental liberties people face there, and the dire effects of the 'communist' government's policies. While nations should not isolate China outright, they should take a strong stand against tyranny and the mistreatment of citizens.


redhogdiary said...

Hey Clearthought!
I just can't help but think that the Olympics should be kept seperate of all the bullshit in the world. The athletes have worked hard and trained for their entire lives for this one moment in time. To surround it in scandal and boycott seems such a great disservice to them. How about if we ask our leaders to do their jobs every other day of the year and let these athletes have their day.

Wil Robinson said...

Red Hog makes a good point -

But I'll point out that the "opening ceremonies" aren't exactly about the athletes. They are all about fluff in the name of the host country, so a boycott of the opening ceremonies would fit nicely as a strong statement against China's actions.

The games will go on, whether anyone goes to or watches the opening ceremonies.

It's kind of like the rally in high school before the big football game on Friday. You skipped the rally because...well, it was high school. But the big game still took place Friday evenings, and missing the rally didn't affect the players one bit.

clearthought said...

I am not advocating totally skipping out on the games, Red Hog. But the best way we can place pressure on the Chinese at this moment in time is to boycott the opening ceremonies, which, as Wil said, are more of a political show than a sporting event.