Monday, March 31, 2008

China, Darfur, Tibet, the Olympics, and a Political Party that People Hate

Not really (the title excited you, didn't it?). But, as usual, I'm going to start by looking at something someone else wrote. In this case, it's Sharon Cobb's question - did Merkel choose to personally boycott the Olympics for the wrong reason?

German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is the first world leader to announce she won't attend the Olympics in Beijing.

Her decision is based on China's crackdown of Tibet.

While I applaud her decision to boycott the games, I am disappointed it has taken this long and why it has taken this long.

Let me be clear that I completely respect his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and support the Monks fighting China for Tibet's freedom.

However, once again it is apparent that Africa is the forgotten continent.

Even if most people are unaware that the genocide in Darfur is being supported by revenue from China, world leaders have known this for years.

I previously linked to another post (again from a German) calling for a Beijing boycott.

The political misuse of the Olympic Games is well-known. It is an ingenuity to pretend that such a misuse is not going to happen this summer, if it is not already on track. It is absurd to cheer for Beijing knowing what is going on in that country.

In this case the writer, Enrique, is also targeting internal reasons (that is, if you consider Tibet a part of China).

But Darfur is getting attention from non-governmental sources:

Dream for Darfur, a New York-based group headed by Jill Savitt, is hoping to use the Beijing Olympics to pressure China to effect change in Sudan. The reality is quite simple, the group maintains: Sudan supplies China with oil, and China supplies the government of Sudan with weapons, and protects the country from significant UN intervention, despite the genocide currently happening there. The Olympics present a rare type of leverage that Dream for Darfur plans to exploit by pressuring sponsors, staging protests, and distributing their slogan, "Genocide Olympics."

Mia Farrow has picked up the slogan:

[T]here is now one thing that China may hold more dear than their unfettered access to Sudanese oil: their successful staging of the 2008 Summer Olympics. That desire may provide a lone point of leverage with a country that has otherwise been impervious to all criticism.

Whether that opportunity goes unexploited lies in the hands of the high-profile supporters of these Olympic Games. Corporate sponsors like Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, General Electric and McDonalds, and key collaborators like Mr. Spielberg, should be put on notice. For there is another slogan afoot, one that is fast becoming viral amongst advocacy groups; rather than "One World, One Dream," people are beginning to speak of the coming "Genocide Olympics."

But, at least as of March 15, Barack Obama hasn't picked up the tune:

"This is the year of the Beijing Olympics. It represents an opportunity for China to show the world what it has accomplished in the last several decades," [Obama] said. "Those accomplishments have been extraordinary and China's people have a right to be proud of them, but the events in Tibet these last few days unfortunately show a different face of China."

Or, if it wasn't for Tibet, everything would be wonderful in China.

Not sure where McCain stands on this, but we know where Bush stands:

The White House said...that China's crackdown in Tibet is not cause for U.S. President George W. Bush to cancel his attendance at the Beijing Olympics.

But if you want to find a political party that is opposed to China's activities in Darfur and Tibet...there's always the Constitution Party.

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