Saturday, March 22, 2008

What to do about China?

China is in the midst of its latest crushing of human rights. This time, the target is Tibetans who had the audacity to express their opposition to Chinese rule. The Chinese laid the blame for the violence at the feet of the Dalai Lama, left, a well-known symbol of peace. Nobody's buying that one. The Chinese government also forced out foreign reporters from the affected regions and told tourists to stay out of regions stretching across four provinces. Wouldn't want the outside world to really know what's going on there, would we? On Friday, China signaled that it might rescind earlier permission for NBC and other international networks to broadcast live during the Olympics from Tiananmen Square. We all know what happened there. I'm no expert on China, but I really haven't seen any improvement in their human rights record in recent years. The Bush administration, however, recently removed China from the list of the worst human rights offenders. How convenient, what with the Olympics coming up this summer. And just to get ready for the Olympics and its moment in the world spotlight, the Chinese have forcibly relocated citizens and diverted water from farmlands to stockpile it for the Games. Who cares if thousands of farmers starve, as long as a pole vaulter from Uzbekistan can take a shower? The world is amid a debate on what, if anything, to do about the Olympics, in light of the Tibetan crackdown and other signs that China's human rights record remains putrid. Our president, as recently as the other day, said he still planned to attend the Olympics. To me, that shows support for what is going on in Tibet right now. This administration has a history of removing a "brutal dictator" in another country, but we'll cozy up to a government that has killed many more of its own people. I'm not suggesting that a total boycott is the way to go. But our president does not have to attend the Games, and our athletes don't have to take part in the glitzy ceremonies that are part of the Olympics. The 1936 Olympics gave Hitler a stage to disseminate his Nazi propaganda and began a string of appeasements that led to the annexation of the Sudetenland and, later, the invasion of Poland that started World War II. China has released statements from such world pariahs as Sudan and North Korea that support its crackdown in Tibet. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the statements offer "clear proof that the international community is on the side of China." Let the Chinese athletes march in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics with North Korea and Sudan, and without most of the rest of the world. That would be "clear proof" that the international community is not behind them.



Anonymous Lawrence J. Nader said...

Bashing China is futile. Everything in America is made in China. They lend us money to buy their goods. Any talk of punishing them is just that, talk. Are we going to stop trading with them? The politicians will spout their indignation for votes, and all will remain as is.

As usual, thanks for nothing.

March 23, 2008 at 10:33 PM  

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