As my family watches the opening games of the Olympics without me (ironically, I can convince national policymakers to change major public policy, but my own family is a whole different story), I ask you to take a moment and consider all the reasons why NOT to support the opening games!
Before listing the numerous reasons, please remember that you not watching CAN make a difference, 1) Because even those of us who think we don’t have a lot of political power, even those of us in our comfortable first world homes, have the ECONOMIC power to impact the major coporations that support the growth that China hopes to reap from the games, 2) Because the Nielsen ratings can tell whether or not your tv is tuned to the Olympics station (without you reporting) – everyone, and especially the corporations that have spent major money for advertising as well as the Chinese government, will be watching to see if the many campigns to boycott the Olympics actually have an impact.
(By the way, they just announced Bush is sitting next to Putin and joking around. GREAT!)
Visitors to the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing will be in a city that fewer than twenty years ago was the site of a massacre of innocent civilians by their government. As you enjoy the athletic events and the sights of the city, you may find yourself at street corners, subway stops, in parks or near hospitals where ordinary Chinese men and women were murdered.
Don’t Watch the Olympic Ceremonies: Human rights activists inside Burma have called on people around the world to not watch the Olympic ceremonies because of China’s support for the Burmese military. You can still support the athletes in what they do, support the Chinese people, and support the Games for what they stand for, but don’t support the Chinese government’s policies.
The Beijing Olympics should be a moment to bring citizens around the world together. But the Chinese government still hasn’t opened meaningful dialogue on Tibet, or made progress on Burma and Darfur — and global activists’ messages are too often lost in a firestorm of accusations about being anti-Chinese.
The Chinese government claimed human rights would improve in Tibet and China if Beijing won the right to host the 2008 Olympics. Instead of improving, the human rights situation in Tibet has deteriorated. As Beijing counts down to the Opening Ceremony, the Chinese government is already plotting to punish Tibetans for daring to call for freedom.
While China continues to be Sudan’s largest economic and diplomatic ally, the genocide in Darfur continues in Darfur. China has done very little to help end the suffering. The Save Darfur Coalition along with our partner groups are working to get China to take action (see our joint statement on China and Darfur) and we need your help but time is running out.
By revoking the visa of 2006 Olympian Joey Cheek at the very last moment because he had the nerve to speak out about Darfur and the Chinese government’s support for Sudan’s barbarous regime, Chinese authorities guaranteed that the opening of these Games would focus as much on politics as on sports. The burden now is not on China’s critics but on its government.