China: Enough Is Enough

There’s a lot of hot air spouted, usually among politicians, about not mixing sport and politics. Much is said of the sportsmen and women losing out to political dog-fighting, particularly over such events as the Olympics.

Frankly, the hypocrisy is hard to stomach.

Can it truly not be argued that the IOC made a political decision when it decided to award the 2008 games to China? Whether or not that decision was made under political pressure will probably never been known for sure, but it’s a fair bet that it was. It’s also odds-on the pressure came from the United States, a country that owes China big, and the one likely to wield most influence over the International Olympic Committee.

Today, China sentenced a young man, Hu Jia, to three and a half years in jail. His charge was “inciting subversion of state power and the socialist system”. Hu Jia was, in fact, guilty of peacefully campaigning “for the environment, religious freedom and for the rights of people with HIV and Aids”.[1] Two weeks ago, Yang Chunlin, another campaigner, was jailed on similar charges.

Most of us will be aware of the recent inhumane treatment meted out to Tibetans desperately trying to wrest their country from Chinese occupation over the last fifty years. It seems the Chinese dictatorial government has little respect for humanity, either in the East or the West, as it ruthlessly dispenses its malevolent punishments.

It is no longer a question of the separation of sport and politics. Some are suggesting world leaders should boycott the opening ceremony. How weak and spineless can one be? There is only one right course of action to be taken, by competitors and politicians alike. The games should be the subject of a concerted Western boycott.

Like the judgment to wage war in Iraq, the initial flawed decision by the IOC to choose Beijing cannot now be undone. As in Iraq, the only course of action is a withdrawal. It is time for competitors and politicians from around the globe, whose consciences one hopes are troubling them, to say enough is enough.

Leaving China with a massive failure would show that country how their human rights record is really viewed by the world. Individuals should consider carefully the effects of their attendance.

To suggest, as China and many western politicians have done, that politics and sport should not mix, is phony. Today, it would seem the Olympics is all about politics. The sport is only a sideline.

[1] ” Jail for Chinese rights activist”, BBC, April 3rd, 2008.

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5 Replies to “China: Enough Is Enough”

  1. I’m with you on this, RJA and have been the only voice of dissent among friends who believe that the athletes have trained long and hard and shouldn’t be punished.
    That is far too superficial a look in my view.
    But again, my Inner Cynic says follow the money and of course the games will take place, there is too much invested and too much placating of The Dragon by everyone.
    These abuses are a scandal, of course, but who is the U.S. to talk of human rights?

  2. I have nothing to add, I think you’ve said it all. I just wanted to express my support for your view on the matter.

  3. Here in Liverpool UK we have one of the oldest and largest UK Chinese communities. I’ve worked with many of them in the past and still have several good Chinese friends. While the Chinesen are a very close knit/mutaually supportive community (admirably so, in fact), I’ve never yet met one with anything good to say about “China”.

    My experience is that they consider themselves first & formost to be Liverpudlians/Scousers, and secondly Chinese. I think that’s great. Incidentally, they’re the hardest working peole I’ve ever come across – either here or anywhere at all abroad.

  4. I should have mentioned this true story.

    Not long ago while in our favourite Chines restaurant the converstaion (with the owner, Mrs Lee), turned to Blair, Ira, etc.
    “It’s alrught for Blair and those bloody politicians, ” she said. “But they won’t go over there and help our boys do any of their fighting.”

    I’ve know and liked Mrs Lee for many, many years. After that, I thought all the more of her.

  5. WWW – that is the real George Bush legacy. For years ahead, America will never be able to criticize another regime for human rights abuses without appearing utterly hypocritical. Even more so, if at the end of their term this administration is allowed to walk away, back to their fat-salaried company positions, without being brought to justice.

    Sharon Allsop – welcome to Sparrow Chat. Thank you for your support. So often one can seem like a voice crying in the wilderness. Knowing others are of similar opinion is very gratifying.

    TOB – like you I have fond memories of Liverpool’s Chinatown. An American friend was amazed recently when I recounted how I would often frequent that area after dark, visiting restaurants and clubs. “You wouldn’t risk doing that in the Chinese quarters of an America city,” he responded.

    I always felt safe in Chinatown and got on really well with the people. Scouser Chinese are incredibly friendly, and welcoming.

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