Talk of a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games has remained curiously muted. Surprise. Most pro-Tibet groups that are opposed to China hosting the Games also oppose an all-out boycott.
Lording the rings
• The accepted wisdom: the Games in China will prove an unprecedented “force for good” – the words of International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge when the Olympics were awarded to Beijing, despite a brutal crackdown on the Falun Gong at the time.
The eco positive
• Without the international scrutiny brought by the Olympics, China would have done nothing to clean up the choking pollution in Beijing.
The bitter truth
• China has failed to meet the demands of pro-Tibet groups to enter into discussions with the Dalai Lama over the future of Tibet.
• Its ban on political meetings and public demonstrations will remain in place during the Games.
Freedom’s flip side
• Despite its increasing international profile, the regime in China’s gotten more repressive, not less, since the country won its bid for the Olympics and entered the World Trade Organization in 2001. See Taiwan. See Tibet. See descriptions in the government-controlled press of Western coverage of the uprising in Tibet as “biased and sometimes dishonest.”
What Amnesty International says
• Send a UN fact-finding mission to investigate the events surrounding last week’s protests in Tibet.
What Human Rights Watch says
• Hosting the Games “provides human rights defenders, both inside and outside China, leverage for capturing the attention of the Chinese government.”
The burning question
• Will countries boycott the opening ceremonies or take their Tibet protest even further? The president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, has called on the EU to study a total boycott if China’s crackdown in Tibet continues.
• China boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games to protest Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan, arguing that its hosting of the Games “would be used by Soviet authorities as an endorsement of its foreign policy.” Talk about a Tibet parallel.