Human Rights In Tibet – An Olympian Hurdle

25 03 2008

Games of the XXIX OlympiadThere are one hundred and forty eight days before the XXIX Olympiad begins – in Beijing, China.
And yet the situation in Tibet has probably never been worse.

It’s a somber Jaques Rogge these days. He made comments to Associated Press that he was engaged in “silent diplomacy” with the Chinese but wouldn’t intervene in politics to try to change their policies.

“We are discussing on a daily basis with Chinese authorities, including discussing these issues, while strictly respecting the sovereignty of China in its affairs.”

It’s a far cry from the Jacques Rogge who was enthusiastic just post awarding the Olympics to China (Samaranch’s legacy), ebullient about the ‘Olympic Spirit’ that would help change China’s previously bullish attitude towards human rights.

Since the March 14th protests of China’s rule in Tibet, wave upon wave of violence has erupted, with China declaring 22 dead, and the Tibetan-government-in-exile stating that approximately 100 have been slain.
The truth of the matter is probably somewhere between the two, but that’s not the point. The salient issue is that despite promises to the contrary, China have not changed their stance at all in regards to human rights, least of all in Tibet.

The Olympics in Beijing – as awesome an event as they may end up being – are only going to reinforce the socio-economic and political climate in China. Basically, the prospect of riches for both governments and private enterprise is too huge.
China knows this, and acts accordingly. Which means they act in whatever way they damn well please.
Companies such as Coca-Cola – one of the main sponsors for the games – are facing increasing pressure to pull out, but the attraction of the Chinese market is an irresistible siren’s song. Their official stance?

“The Coca-Cola Co. joins others in expressing deep concern for the situation on the ground in Tibet. We know that all parties involved hope for a peaceful resolution.”

The thing is, any nation/company that does pull out will face China’s wrath. And they’re not shy about displaying their displeasure.

Candle-protestNow, the protests are only going to get worse. The furor at the flame-lighting ceremony will be a cake-walk compared to what’s scheduled. The flame-relay is scheduled to pass right through Tibet’s heartland, and through Lhasa in June.
Given the situation, that’s repugnant.

The tragedy is that these games should be a sign of a change in the way things are run in China.
It could be an amazing games, in all truth probably will be, but at what cost?

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3 responses

26 03 2008
Pedro Morgado

Is China running for Olympics?
Click here to see!!! 😉

27 03 2008
Steve

China is an 800 pound gorilla-it can do what it wants. Hopefully, things won’t deteriorate to the point of what happened in Berlin Games of 1936, when the United States Olympic Committe, led by Avery Brundage(who would become head of the IOC) bowed to Nazi pressure and removed two Jewish sprinters, who were to compete in the 4×100 meter relay for men.(they were replaced by black runners-not great for the Nazi’s, but for them, just a little better than Jews) China may not weld that kind of clout on the athletic front(although it will be interesting to see what hometown favorable judgements will come the Chinese way in sports like Gymnastics, Boxing and wrestling.-as a footnote, one of the Jewish Sprinters, the late Marty Glickman, attained fame in the US as the radio and TV voice of the New York Giants football team.

27 03 2008
Steve

PSS-if you get a chance to rent the movie “Olympiade”, the movie of the 1936 Olympics by famed/infamous director Lani Raifenstahl, it’s worth the rental for how well photographed it was(She used techniques for filming sprinters and running events way ahead of her time) and also the ominous shadow of Nazism on those games.

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