Yesterday, in response to a report that hundreds of Tibetans have been killed since March 10, 2008, lestro wondered, “what if they hosted an Olympics and no one came?” and that made a lot of sense when we were just looking at the reports collected by Boing Boing, including this:
It was impossible not to notice that the United States removed China from its list of top 10 human rights violators just as the biggest anti-China protests in 20 years erupted in Tibet.
[...] China had a chance to shine for its Olympic coming-out party and is blowing it. Its leaders will continue to have to battle protests and unrest — and endure international reproach — until they ensure more freedom for all their citizens, including greater religious tolerance and freedom for Tibet.
from the New York Times Editorial Board, that maybe missed a bit of news before going to print with the phrase ‘international reproach,’ because it turns out that when it comes to the Olympics, it is exactly the opposite:
The European Union is not in favor of a growing call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics to express disapproval over China’s crackdown on pro-independent movements in Tibet.
[...] Russia even supported the Chinese government. In a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, “Russia has repeatedly declared that it views Tibet as an inalienable part of China, and considers the resolution of relations with the Dalai Lama to be an internal matter of the People’s Republic of China.”
Even the Dalai Lama, although he condemned China for its rule of terror and cultural genocide, stopped short of calling for a boycott of the Olympic games.
[...] [Thomas Bach, German vice president of the International Olympic Committee] stressed sports organizations are not world governments and cannot solve problems that decades of international leaders and head of governments had tried, but likewise failed.
The Olympics are an international gesture of goodwill and an economic boom for the country hosting it. Historically, it has not been immune from being drawn into the fray of international conflicts. Fundamentally, it is a diplomatic exercise whether it wants to be or not.
I thought diplomacy was exactly how we are supposed to approach violations of international law. Especially when China sits as a permanent member of the Security Council. What else can be done?
Martin Luther King, Jr. sums it up well:
The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
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