Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't even talk about boycotting Olympics, it's a pretty childish idea

I know I haven't posted for a long time, but I wanted to make my opinion known about the political controversy surrounding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Firstly, concerning the calls for a straight out boycott. I am extremely opposed to such a boycott, as it is completely unfair to the atheletes (who, by the way, are actually the focal point of the Olympics) and it wouldn't actually accomplish anything. The former is quite obvious but the latter is unfortunately not. I first learned about this in a recent edition of Maclean's magazine which contained an article by John Fraser. Basically he said that the Chinese government will not be budged by any outside power concerning it's policies towards non-Communist groups that pose a threat to the government or its vision of China. They know how a group can pounce up and take over a country, as that's what the Communists did themselves in China, and they have decided that they must exterminate any threat to the Communist Party, be it spiritual movements, unions, pro-democracy groups, or separatists. To put all that into a sentence, the Chinese government will do anything to crush any threat to the Communists no matter what the West wants.

Unfortunately the people who are protesting and demanding a boycott have not realized that it just wouldn't work. Yes, it would be a setback to China but it's not worth potentially losing their (the Communist's) influence. And of course it wouldn't destroy their economy or anything.

Let's take the politics out of the Olympics. If you have a problem with human rights in Tibet (and personally I am against what China is doing there) find other ways of expressing that. And when you find that idea, remember to think about it first before you start advocating it.

28 comments:

James R MacLean said...

I basically agree, although I would express it a bit more neutrally: the Western powers tend to regard China as inherently a threat, since it is a rival superpower and still pushing the case for decolonization.


For about a century, Western policy towards China has been cloaked in the most condign hypocrisy. Taking my own country's government (the USA) as an example, it prosecuted a neocolonial war in Vietnam with blatant disregard for the lives of Vietnamese, and then presumed to talk about the threat to international comity of "Red China." For decades it sought to strangle the infant PRC in its crib with sanctions and Cold War tactics, then capitulated for the sleazy goal of encircling the USSR.
Don't get me wrong, I am not a Communist nor am I defending Communism, but the morally squalid way in which the US government waged the Cold War as a figleaf for neocolonialism fills me with profound shame and regret.

To mix up talk of Chinese economic growth as a threat to the Western way of life, and then rant and rage about China's efforts to restrict existentialist threats, is a diplomatic disaster. It may seem overkill for Beijing to respond to demonstrating monks as if this were an existential threat to the PRC, but officials in the West have long chortled that it is. To now express outrage because Beijing sees this as a fire in a paint shed, is Pecksniffian.

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't the Olympics being in China, the problem is that the IOCC chose China for the Olympics in spite of their human rights record.

Thus, the correct action is to punish the IOCC. This can be done not by boycotting the olympics, but by boycotting those advertisers who've chosen to advertise during these olympics, and, more importantly, informing the advertisers, networks, and the IOCC of your intent to do so.

Lucas Durand said...

I'd have to agree that boycotting China isn't the thing to do. Boycotting the IOCC is. I realize that China has a poor human rights record, but so do a lot of countries. The point is that there were much better choices for the olympics, and punishing our athletes, and national pride and prestige in world sports is exactly the opposite of what we should do.

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