A rhetorical question


You are an athelete. You have striven for the last four years to make it to the Olympic Games. You have worked hard, beaten all competition and now all that is left is to go to Beijing and run the last mile for your country. It’s a dream that’s so close to coming through. Then come the uprisings in Tibet. The Chinese authorities ignore all international appeals to find a peaceful solution.

Now comes the question… Would you boycott these games?

The surplus question is: what was the IOC thinking when it awarded the Olympic organisation to China?




9 responses to “A rhetorical question

  1. i would go and make my statement there, like running the 100m dressed like a Tibetan monk

  2. I’m flying to Beijing tomorrow morning for two semesters of doctoral research at the University of Beijing…(sinologist in training). I don’t know if you’re interested, but since I no longer have a blog perhaps I could e-mail you with a few words about ‘l’atmosfera che si respira’; you can then decide to publish or not publish on your blog as you see fit (no harm done if the offer is refused, the subject of human rights in China is a bit…foreign to this blog’s usual subject matter.

    To answer your first question: A boycott? Were I an athlete, almost certainly, but putting on my statesman’s cap – such a move would be counterproductive and only encourage the Chinese leadership to believe that the West is trying to make the country lose ‘mianzi’ or ‘face’. (in China, this doesn’t just translate as ‘perdere la faccia’, it has much more far-reaching implications.) A widespread boycott will undoubtedly provoke an outbreak of vehement nationalism (among other ills, though that isn’t to say that the symbolic example wouldn’t have some salutary effects).

    As for the thinking of the IOC – bah, I won’t even attempt that one.

    Sorry for the superficiality of my ‘answer’ (really nothing more than a series of assertions) but lack of time, the demands of packing and an unconscionably early flight are intervening. For the moment – I take back what I said (years ago) about your partiality in these things; given that you are manifestly willing to ‘offend’ equally, my then-impugning of your character was unwarranted.



    J’ACCUSE COMMENT: Looking forward for your first despatch from the Far East. Bon Voyage.

  3. Well the IOC had allowed th Olympic games o be held in Nazi germany, decided to organise them in Moscow when the USSR was still alive and kicking, and Russia was invading Afghanistan, and you’re amazed that the following Olympics will be held in China?

  4. I would boycott the games.

  5. I agree with Moggy. I woul boycott the games. Full stop.

  6. Business and money have priority over decent politics and priority over human rights.

  7. Patrick (Galea)

    Moviment Graffitti shall be organising a demonstration of solidarity with the people of Tibet, tomorrow at 10am, in front of the Chinese embassy. I received an invite. I guess no harm done in extending to all of you here (dawk li qeghdin Malta ghal inqas).

  8. Claire Bonello

    I’m afraid Periklu is right in that cash is king and there is no way that a boycott will be implemented.

  9. The Olympics were given to China with one condition – that China begins to respect Human Rights and starts reforming itself. That was in 2000. The IOC were either being naive or were just plain stupid – but it takes more than 8 years to restore human rights and start building civil society.

    They also didn’t take into account that China would use the Olympics as an excuse to further damage human rights – forced evictions etc…

    Boycott? Why not? Yes athletes have been working hard for the past 4 years. But here we’re talking about a regime who for the past 50 years or so is responsible for the cultural revolution, tianamen square, 4000 executions per annum – the list is endless.

    If the olympics is all about sport, I am sure there are other adequate venues which will not have all the glitz and glamour of a new venue, but which will make olympics what they’re meant to be – a sporting event. And at the same time no money will be pumped into the economy of a repressive and ruthless regime.

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