How world democracies can indulge in the upcoming warmth of the Olympics as human rights muzzling continues in China should concern us all.
China looks at this summer’s Olympics as a great PR tool to showcase how wonderful and modern it is. The athletic endeavour will raise the curtain on this nation’s ascension to major player on the world stage, in fact, China looks at the Olympics as a legitimizing this fact, despite its horrifyingly obvious yet easily ignored record on human rights.
Just like sunny beaches and cheap beachfront hotels help the world at large forget about people fleeing on rafts across an open ocean to escape repressive communist rule in Cuba, China hopes the Olympics will do the same for them.
“Look at our wonderful bird nest-shaped stadium and never mind visions of where that student protester in Tianamen Square stood up to a line of our tanks, he was just impeding traffic- now look at our swimming complex, it is shaped like a cube!”
Recent comments by the Chinese government concerning the Dalai Lama are both startling and telling about what the Chinese government is about. A top Chinese Communist party official attacked the Dalai Lama, calling Tibet’s revered religious leader a “wolf in monk’s robes.” This same official, Zhang Qingli, says China is locked in a “life-and-death battle” with Tibetan protesters.
The only thing “life and death” about the battle is how Tibetan protesters are being rounded up, beaten and some killed as China mobilizes more troops to beat down protesters and the uproar. The protest over Chinese rule of Tibet is legitimate and a true player on the world stage would not attempt to suppress such protests.
If all is so well in China and it truly is maligned in the world’s eye, why does it stop journalists from reporting what happens when these protests occur? Why does it confiscate cameras and deny access? Why does it round up foreign journalists, carting them away from the scene? Thankfully, with the advent of picture cellphones, old fashioned dogged-determination by some journalists, resourceful tourists and brave locals in Tibet, the story gets out for the world to see.
“The Dalai is a wolf in monk’s robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast,” Zhang was quoted in the Tibet Daily.
The fact such a crazy statement can be made about the Dalai Lama and passed off as a government’s position should be a sign to other world leaders to make a stand. Our beloved Canada-grand champion of saying it stands for human rights but never backing up its word of late (see Darfur, Rwanda), should actually do something concrete.
Also, our Olympic squad should boycott the opening ceremonies at the very least. It sucks for amateur athletes to have to compete in China but if they gave it some thought, it probably sucks even more to live there in fear of your government. Human rights does trump athletic competition, hate to break it to everyone.
Lastly, if the Dalai Lama is “a devil with a human face” and has the heart of a beast, Ghandi was an arms salesman and kickboxing champion and Martin Luther King was a pimp and black slave trader at heart.