Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Olympic Games - A Political Minefield

As we get closer to the Olympic Games being held in Beijing we are hearing an awful lot about boycotting the Olympic games. There are various reasons - Censorship and Jailing of Journalists, Pollution, Human rights, and not being a democracy are the major standouts.

Of course there are opposing points of view with some apparently valid points. For example, this piece points out that when France put down riots nobody cares, but when China does they are suppressing "freedom fighters". Of course when you dig a bit deeper - the issues of Human Rights and Censorship raised above offset these claims.

But the real crux of the matter is - Should we boycott a purely athletic event that was created for the sole purpose of allowing all athletes to compete and encourage the development of their sport worldwide? It's been done in the past, but does that justify boycotting in the future? What effect would it have on the athletes and atmosphere of communication and peace that is fostered by having a true worldwide competition? Also, how would China, poised to become the new major world power,react?

I agree that China has a deplorable record on just about every value we as Americans hold dear; however, should we not use the Olympics as an opportunity to show Chinese citizens how our democratic way of life provides more freedom and a promise for a better future compared to their government?

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