Wednesday, August 06, 2008

China Shooting Self in Foot

Over the past few weeks here, the Beijing Olympics have looked less and less desirable for those attending. First, the journalists were being censored after being promised unfettered access to the Internet. Then the air became a major issue and the fact that four American cyclists arriving with US Olympic Committee issued masks on, caused the Chinese to take offense and the US Staff chastised the athletes. Now, Olympian (Notice I did not say former) Joey Cheeks has been refused a visa, as just added fuel to the fires already burning in Beijing.

China for it's part, opened up the reporting during the earthquake only to shut it down again when people started asking why only schools collapsed while government buildings in the same area went unscathed. Then they started jailing folks for even asking the questions. Journalists were given the boot from the country again.

Tibet and Turkmenistan have become issues with several bombings and the protests against China's over bearing repression of the regions. Granted, for it's part, China has highlighted the problems by trying to associate them in the same way with 9-11 with the war against terrorism. But this is all home grown issues that China's repressive hands have created for themselves and in no way bears any resemblence to the 9-11 and 7-11 terrorist attacks that occured in the US and the UK. You are talking instead about people who just want their home lands back and want to live in peace.

What is saddest about all of this is that China was even granted the Olympic games in the first place. The Olympic charter is supposed to promote peace and harmony, yet China's human rights record alone should have been enough to sink their application back 6 years ago. But instead, people thought China would clean up its act both ecologically and socially. Instead, they have become so repressive that now they even are brazen enough to block Olympians from attending the Olympics and to try and say that if you speak out against anything China doesn't like, you will be booted from the country or refused entry.

I take issue with the US Olympic Committee not supporting Joey Cheeks, but then, when has the USOC ever done anything that was supportive of the athletes. It is time to boot out the old cronies that are running the show in many of these cases including the IOC which has also failed to support the athletes instead bowing to China's repressive tactics.

People have forgotten all about Mexico City where U.S. athletes made political statements. Yes, they were chastised for it, even booted off the Olympic team in an era where tolerance was in low supply, but it had the effect that was required. It is time once again for a Mexico City type revolt on the part of the athletes and this revolt should continue until the Chinese back down from their idiocy. I also think it is time that the leaders of democratic countries around the world throw their weight around again and threaten boycott (This may be too late as we have already sent most of the athletes to the games).

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