I hate to talk about the Olympic boycott, though I’ve already given a brief discussion, because sports and politics should be divided. However, I read a nice article in Daily Cardinal, a University of Wisconsin independent student’s newspaper, addressing the boycott problems in detail. Of course, I still have say, I do not agree with all the opinions in this article, however, some considerations are instructive. Here is the article:
Olympic boycott will be ineffective if attempted
By: – April 16, 2008
Matt Jividen is a senior majoring in history. Please send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you turned on the news last week, chances are you saw at least one image of the massive protests following the Olympic torch. It was certainly a sight to behold. My personal favorite was the banner draped between the structural supports of the Golden Gate Bridge. The goal of the protesters is the boycott of the Olympic games because of China’s deplorable treatment of theTibetans, numerous human rights violations, harsh treatment of political dissenters and widespread media censorship. Who would have thought a country that produces so many American flags could do such harm?
Don’t get me wrong, I want to remedy the repressive regime in China as much as anyone else, but boycotting the Olympics isn’t going to do anything. Although a boycott may appeal to the conscience of a righteous Westerner, it has little chance of helping the people suffering in Tibet of mainland China.
Many have suggested taking part in the Olympics would legitimize the current political and social atmosphere in China. Unfortunately, China has already been legitimized. The People’s Republic of China was legitimized in 1971 when it was seated in the United Nations—despite its absolutely deplorable human rights record, which continues to this day. You still want to talk about legitimate? They are paramount among international creditors, having extended massive amounts of funds to developing and advanced nations alike.
To pretend that a boycott would do anything to curb their current course of action or diminish their status is pure fantasy. Imagine if the Olympics were being held in the United States this year and China decided to boycott based on our continuing presence in two foreign theaters. It’s highly doubtful this would lead to our withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the same logic should apply to China.
Others believe it is good enough to just send a message. If you’re naive enough to believe our international posturing will cause damage to the Chinese government and effectively loosen their grip on the country, think again.
If Americans and Europeans refuse to attend the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government will gladly parlay that into volatile propaganda. The result will be the Chinese people feeling as if Western nations have insulted them. If anything, it will further cement the ‘us-versus-them’ mentality. Most people in China will not understand the distinction between the policies of the Bush Administration and general consensus of the American public. The Chinese media machine will portray an ideologically homogeneous and hypocrital American public that starts wars of attrition around the world yet boycotts the Chinese Olympics from our supposed moral high ground. As unpopular as it may be to say, there might be a grain of truth to that. Perhaps we should make sure our own house is in order before we begin to condemn other nations.
The simple truth is sports boycotts generally don’t work. The 1980 boycott didn’t curb Soviet aggression and the 1984 Soviet boycott of Los Angeles only allowed the United States to dominate the games.
The only marginally successful sports boycott was the one imposed on South Africa. It’s true the course of action taken against South Africa did eventually play a part in ending apartied. However, it was only one small part in a comprehensive excommunication of South Africa from the international community.
There are several differences between the South African plan and the proposed course of action in China. South Africa was not unilaterally boycotted by one nation for one event (as we are suggesting with China) but ostracized by established Western nations for decades.
It is also worth noting the state morale was partially tied up in competing internationally in rugby and cricket. Most importantly, the boycott was coupled with massive divestment campaigns from private businesses and national exclusion from international markets.
There is no chance the tough-talking American politicians (including the three presidential candidates) are going to follow through with any economic sanctions on China, who is coincidentally our largest trading partner. In fact, last year alone the United States amassed a $250 billion trade deficit with China. That begs the question, if we’re truly so upset about China’s treatment of its citizenry why are we facilitating economic growth in China to the tune of $250 billion per year?
Apparently we are willing to fund a totalitarian regime, but we draw the line if a group of Americans want to go there to play water polo.
Even so, it’s nice that after 60 years American politicians are discussing the situation in Tibet and China’s human rights violations. Perhaps Sudan could host the Olympics in two decades and foster a frank discussion on the situation in Darfur, but don’t expect any action—just a grand and meaningless gesture that has absolutely no capacity to prompt change. The only people who stand to be affected are the athletes who may miss their only chance to compete on the highest level.
Even former President Jimmy Carter has joined the fray dismissing calls for a boycott. For those of you that remember, Jimmy Carter ordered the infamous boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. “That was a totally different experience in 1980, when the Soviet Union had brutally invaded and killed thousands and thousands of people,” Carter said. “They were threatening to go further south and take over other countries.”
It’s 30 years later and now look at who’s in Afghanistan. I agree China’s policy needs to change, but for the time being, maybe we should just be happy that we’re still invited. Let’s not politicize the Olympics—after all, they are supposed to be an exhibition of athleticism, global unity and a testing ground for new performance enhancing drugs.
In closing, I just hope China enjoys the financial, social and economic boom that Sarajevo did following hosting the ’84 games.
Matt Jividen is a senior majoring in history. Please send responses to email@example.com.
It is unfortunate that the Olympic Games is now mixed with politics, which means that some politicians want to use Olympics to achieve their political goals, while many ordinary people all across this world are being exploited by those politicians. Both the Olympic Games and those ordinary people are the sacrifices of politics.
Politicians and ordinary people outside China, when you call on to boycott the Olympics, it is important and necessary to notice the great consequences of boycott. First of all, it really hurt the ordinary Chinese people’s emotion who have been making effort to prepare the Olympics for at least one decade. Chinese people, who had experienced invasions of western imperialism, the bitterness of Communist ideology, and Cultural Revolution, now has achieved extraordinary success in economy, after 30 years reform. Their road was not easy, and they are those people who deserve the host of Olympic Games. Ordinary Chinese people regard the host of Olympics as their own award and honor. You have to consider whether your aim is ordinary Chinese people, or not.
Second, and more important, to boycott Olympics is not only to hurt the emotion of Chinese people, but also to divide this world. After more than 40 years’ Cold War, people all across this world are so hungry to pursue peace and development, especially for those in the developing countries. However, some politicians in western are embracing the old politics of Cold War. To boycott Olympics, let some politicians, such as U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and Germany prime minister Merkel, build a perfect image of the vanguard of human rights and democracy, however, after the Olympics, nothing will change. The most possible result is the division between China and western countries is widened, while the human rights of Tibetan will not be improved.
If you want to hear the voices from ordinary Chinese people, you can read a latest report from BBC. BBC has selected six Chinese people, to show their thoughts and feelings. Here I give you the URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/7340987.stm
If you are Chinese, you can express your opinion on that website, BBC will edit and choose someone’s to publish.
Several American teachers in San Francisco condemned the violent supporters of Dalai Lama.
The following statement is originally published on : http://www.pslweb.org
This statement does not represent my position, however, it does reflect some ordinary American people’s viewpoint.
Statement opposing anti-China campaign
A PSL press release
We are opposed to the campaign of disinformation and demonization that is targeting the People’s Republic of China (PRC.) The timing of the campaign is linked to China’s hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics. That the Olympics are taking place in China is of historic significance and great pride to all the country’s people. It was less than six decades ago that China emerged from a century of colonialist humiliation at the hands of the same big powers that are spearheading the China-bashing campaign today.
Washington is providing financial, political, diplomatic and propaganda support to the racist demonization effort, supposedly because of concern for “human rights.” This is the same government that is directly responsible for the death of one million Iraqis since 2003.
While one out of every three Iraqis have been killed, wounded or displaced since 2003 the US government is eager to have people in the US., especially students, protest any government other than their own. One pretext for the anti-China campaign is the fact that the PRC has trade relations with Sudan. The US wants to overthrow the government of oil-rich Sudan and replace it with a puppet. It has supported “rebel groups” who are prolonging the civil war. The people of the Sudan, who are suffering greatly, are cynically used as a fund raising vehicle by organizations that have raised tens of millions of dollars but have never spent a penny actually helping the people of Sudan, including those who live in the Darfur region.
Demonization campaigns against particular countries and their leaders are not just media exercises. Over the last two decades, such campaigns have preceded the invasions of Iraq and Panama, the bombing war against Yugoslavia, the coups in Haiti and attempted coup in Venezuela, and a threatened war against Iran. The pattern is clear and so too is the danger.
Regarding Tibet, for many centuries a region of China, the hand of Washington in the latest events is obvious for anyone who wants to see. For more than 50 years, the CIA and other U.S. government agencies have trained, funded, coordinated and supported the old feudal and repressive regime in Tibet represented by the Dalai Lama. The CIA front group the National Endowment for Democracy funds the International Campaign for Tibet, the Tibetan Youth Congress, the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement and the Dalai Lama himself. The U.S. maintains close ties with the Tibetan “government-in-exile” in India, whose real aim is to break away a region making up a quarter of China’s territory. These U.S. actions constitute an effort to de-stabilize and dismember the Peoples Republic of China. The progress in education, women’s rights, employment and health care would be immediately eviscerated if the old serf-owning ruling elite, represented by the Dalai Lama, was brought back to power.
No one, least of all progressive people, should be misled about what is really going on. The real motivation for the anti-China campaign has nothing to do with human rights or liberation, and everything to do with an agenda of global domination.
We the undersigned call for an end to the disinformation and demonization campaign against China, and a halt to the attempts to boycott and disrupt the 2008 Olympics.
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
Muna Coobtee, Party for Socialism and Liberation
Tony Gonzales, American Indian Movement-West*
Richard Becker, Western Region Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition*
Dave Ewing, Co-Chair,U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association,San Francisco
Willie Bartolome, Coordinator, Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesante)-USA
Arturo P. Garcia, Philippine Immigrant Network for Empowerment
Bob Anderson, Stop the War Machine, Albuquerque, New Mexico*
Chuck Kaufman, Co-Coordinator, Nicaragua Network*
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Civil Rights Attorney
Peter Erlinder, Law Professor, former President of the National Lawyers Guild
Riva Enteen, member, National Lawyers Guild
Idriss Stelley Foundation
Education Not Incarceration, San Francisco Chapter
San Francisco Village Voice Community Radio
Mesha Monge Irizarry, San Francisco Bayview National Black Newspaper reporter*
Gilberto López y Rivas, Professor and Journalist
Beatrice Eisman, U.S.-Vietnam Friendship Association*
Mario Santos, National Coordinator,Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines—USA
Jim Lafferty, Interim General Manager, KPFK 90.7 FM Pacifica Radio* and Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles*
Ecumenical Fellowship for Justice and Peace-Los Angeles
Judi Cheng, New York City, NY
Eli Stephens, Left I on the News
Allen Cooper, Veterans for Peace, GI Rights Hotline*
Peing Baclig, Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV)*
Jack Vergara, Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC)*
Pons De Leon, First Quarter Storm Network (FQSN)-USA-
Harald Neuber, journalist, Germany
Jazy Bonilla D.C.16 IUPAT Organizer *
Dr. Carmen Mercedes Baez, Argentina
Eladio González, (toto) Ernesto Che Guevara Museum, Argentina
Tara Hui, activist, San Francisco
Christine Araquel, Chair, Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB,Pro-PeopleYouth), USA
Riya Ortia, UGNAYAN, NJNY
Ernesto Arce, Pacifica Radio, KPFK 90.7FM, Los Angeles*
Salvador Cordon, Coordinator, FMLN, Northern California
*Organizations for Identification Only