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The Olympics, China and protests
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 07, 2008

I have no problem with the protests along the torch route that are taking place as long as they don't descend into violence. But China deserves every single voice speaking out against it right now:
The last part of the Olympic torch relay in Paris was canceled Monday after a day of chaos in which anti-China protesters forced authorities to extinguish the flame at least five times, take to a bus and skip some scheduled stops, including city hall.

There were confrontations between the authorities and demonstrators throughout the day as the relay attempted to crisscross Paris, birthplace of the modern Olympic movement, passing landmarks including l'Arc d'Triomphe, the Place de la Concord, The Louvre and Notre Dame.

The torch was eventually driven by bus to its ending destination, where it was displayed again during a public ceremony at a stadium.

Numerous protesters, some armed with fire extinguishers, were taken away by police, The Associated Press reported. At other times police used tear gas to remove demonstrators who lay in the road and tried to block the route.
So good on you, protesters. Show the IOC how absolutely dumb their decision to run this supposed showcase of freedom called the Olympics in a totalitarian regime. And further, keep China's abysmal record on human rights and oppression on the front page.

However, we now have a number of politicians, sensing the mood out there, looking for ways to popularly cash in on these spontaneous events. Some are even talking about boycotting the games.

Uh, no.

Not a general boycott. The only people punished in those are the athletes from the country boycotting the event. And, of course it means more medals for the Chinese team that they might not have won if the boycotting country had been there.

Nope. If there's going to be any boycott, let the politicians do it all by themselves. Don't show up for the opening ceremony. Don't show up at all. That would be fine with me. I know it might be tough for the boondoggle addicted among the political class to make that sort of sacrifice but that, if anything, is the proper way to "do something" if they think it is necessary.

But leave the athletes out of it. Jimmy Carter, as only he could do, showed us the utter stupidity of a complete boycott. Let our athletes kick a little Chinese ass. That'll make much more of an impression on the Chinese masses than some pol not showing up for the opening ceremony.

The USSR finally collapsed like a wet paper box when its citizens began to have access to information and contact with those who lived outside the Iron Curtain. This is the first time, en mass, that the world has had the same opportunity to do so behind the Bamboo Curtain, and it would be both stupid and counter-productive to boycott this because we suddenly want to "take a stand on human rights" after mostly ignoring them for a couple of decades.

Politicians - stay home if your conscience demands it. I doubt that it will. But regardless, leave the rest of it alone to play out as it will. My guess is the Chinese will end up either throwing their hands up (less likely) or end up showing their true face to the world (more likely). And that is much more valuable than playing the boycott game in my estimation.
 
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"supposed showcase of freedom"
I don’t think the Olympics have ever been remotely close to that.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Let our athletes kick a little Chinese ass. That’ll make much more of an impression on the Chinese masses than some pol not showing up for the opening ceremony.
That’s really a great attitude. The way you put it, Chinese athletes are in it not for the game, but for the politics. Some Chinese guy losing to a guy from the free country is not just a loser, he’s letting down the Party, let the Party have its way with him!
 
Written By: Nikolay
URL: http://
The way you put it, Chinese athletes are in it not for the game, but for the politics. Some Chinese guy losing to a guy from the free country is not just a loser, he’s letting down the Party, let the Party have its way with him!
Is this sarcasm on the ’Net it’s heard to tell.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Is this sarcasm on the ’Net it’s heard to tell
It is hard to tell isn’t it?

I think he’s serious though.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I think he’s serious though.
The way McQ puts it, the competition between a Chinese athlete and, say, a French athlete should be seen as some sort of ideological struggle. The question is, did he ask the Chinese athlete about this? Does he want to be seen as a supporter of the occupation of Tibet, when he’s merely doing his thing? Does he have a right to be seen as just an athlete despite his bad luck of being born in China?
 
Written By: Nikolay
URL: http://
Ah, then you choose to ignore the geopolitics of the event. While it’s a pride thing for, as your example, the French, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think it’s ideology for Marxist countries.

I saw enough Olympic competitions growing up to know the propaganda value the
Soviet Eastern Bloc made of their gold medals at home.
McQ’s point is to take away the opportunity for the Chinese leaders to make political hay with the victories that will fall their way if the major Olympic contenders of the world boycott the games. Ideology doesn’t have to be on both sides of that equation. The French need not, and probably don’t, view it ideologically. They won’t turn around and try to tie their system of government to the number of gold medals they won.

While the changing world of communication may diminish the actual value of that propaganda, that doesn’t mean it won’t be attempted. The Chinese athletes probably know it’s much less about them as a person than it is about them as a citizen of country X and how their winning somehow shows that citizens of country x are therefore better than country y because country x belives in the second coming of Liedercrom and country y doesn’t.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
he ask the Chinese athlete about this? Does he want to be seen as a supporter of the occupation of Tibet, when he’s merely doing his thing? Does he have a right to be seen as just an athlete despite his bad luck of being born in China?
Berlin Olympics 1936...Athletics IS a part of the propaganda effort of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes. OR did you think all those Soviet athletes competed simply for the joy of competition? Or rather their elaborate sport training infrastructure was simply from the kindness of the Soviet peoples and thier collective love of sport?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The USSR finally collapsed like a wet paper box when its citizens began to have access to information and contact with those who lived outside the Iron Curtain. This is the first time, en mass, that the world has had the same opportunity to do so behind the Bamboo Curtain, and it would be both stupid and counter-productive to boycott this because we suddenly want to "take a stand on human rights" after mostly ignoring them for a couple of decades.
The collapse already was happening by that time. Internal strife caused by losing its Empire and being forced to reach out and trade with the West combined the internal pressure of the people wanting to eat collapsed the Soviet Union. It was the government’s perceived weakness and inability to support its public that put the rest of the public in the camp of those who already wanted more freedom. If the people’s exposure to people outside the Soviet Union was the key part of what happened, Russia wouldn’t be slipping back to dictatorship right now.

Putin public opposition to the US and getting little to no repercussions for it as well as his manipulation of surrounding States, makes him appear to be a tough leader. And that’s how he’s wooed people away from the freedom movement.

Bush, by tolerating Russia’s oppositions and at times, insults, has strengthened Putin and hastened the end of Russia’s freedom movement.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Hear, hear, McQ! Let each decide for himself whether to boycott, personally, let the athletes compete, and let this entire historic event unfold.

Great post!

And when the Chinese athletes — and the Chinese masses — face the world press and its questions, let them find the freedom and the courage to say what they want.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
How about a nice quiet demonstration in support of the monks, by the athletes? Every athlete could shave his (or her) head in imitation of the monks? What are the Chinese going to do? Take their ball and go home?
 
Written By: Cargosquid
URL: http://unitedconservatives.blogspot.com/
I think disrupting the torch is going too far. I think the US free speech rules on this topic are a fairly good balance, and one of the basic rules is that you can protest to your heart’s content, but you should not have the right to disrupt any proceedings. That way lies total chaos.

(Which is why I’ve found myself somewhat ambivalent about the "free speech zones" that have popped up around political events in our country lately. On the one hand, is it a dangerous precedent? Yes, absolutely. On the other hand... is there anybody here naive enough to think that the occupants of the free speech zones of late would not happily do everything in their power to disrupt the speech of others? On the balance, if you’re going to force the issue, protecting everyone’s free speech means keeping you away from the proceedings.)

That said, it is heartening to see people take some time off of their busy schedule of protesting the US’s every foreign policy sneeze to protest the real problems of China; the US may not be perfect but China’s a target-rich environment for protesters.

China desperately wants to be a superpower. Are they ready for the scrutiny that will entail? Are they ready for huge chunks of the world to hate them and blame them for everything, continuously? Are they ready to deal with dissent, both externally and internally? We shall see.

(And to anyone who would claim the US is not, I’d point out that we do indeed routinely deal with this without spazzing out about it. Don’t even start.)
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
China desperately wants to be a superpower. Are they ready for the scrutiny that will entail? Are they ready for huge chunks of the world to hate them and blame them for everything, continuously? Are they ready to deal with dissent, both externally and internally? We shall see.

THIS. Over time, people in Europe will start protesting everything China does (or does not do) and leave the US more or less alone. Its why Walmart gets smacked around for its labor policies why Kmart and Target have the same policies but no one cares.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Athletics IS a part of the propaganda effort of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes. OR did you think all those Soviet athletes competed simply for the joy of competition? Or rather their elaborate sport training infrastructure was simply from the kindness of the Soviet peoples and thier collective love of sport?
Of course I know that athletics IS a part of the totalitarian propaganda. The question I ask is does it make sense to play by the rules of this game. Does athletics have to be a part of, say, American propaganda effort as McQ suggests? I’d say that this is the thing better left to totalitarian regimes.
 
Written By: Nikolay
URL: http://
Your propaganda argument was invented by you in whole cloth and it’s not anywhere in what McQ wrote. It won’t be used by our government to say a damn thing.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It won’t be used by our government to say a damn thing.
A lesson we learned the hard way back in 1980 when that bufoon Carter cancelled the US participation in the 1980 Summer Olympics.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Your propaganda argument was invented by you in whole cloth and it’s not anywhere in what McQ wrote.
Really? Here’s a direct quote:
Let our athletes kick a little Chinese ass. That’ll make much more of an impression on the Chinese masses than some pol not showing up for the opening ceremony.
 
Written By: Nikolay
URL: http://
Let our athletes kick a little Chinese ass. That’ll make much more of an impression on the Chinese masses than some pol not showing up for the opening ceremony.
Really! and where, in there, do I read the part about the Government of the United States of America saying ANYTHING about our athletes kicking Chinese butt?

Is it hiding between the word "ass." and "That’ll"? Perhaps it’s related to the use of the word ’pol’? Or the reference to the Chinese masses being impressed? Where am I to understand that the US government will use any gold/silver/bronze medals earned by our athletes to beat the Chinese people over the head in a propaganda war? Where in there am I to see the US government sponsored broadcasts run here in the United States which will tout the fact that our Republican system of government produced these athletes which kicked the ass of the Chinese Socialist government athletes (if and when that happens)?

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

 
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