Wednesday, April 9, 2008

China Needs a Reality Check

Wherever the Olympic torch has gone, it has sparked protests about China's contempt for human rights. The world has probably given to China the Olympics for summer, but the country itself doesn't seem to be willing to improve its political image.

A caricature explaining the logo of the Olympics in Beijing.
As the country economically grows, it certainly will show us that it has the material capacity to host international events. In such a situation, the whole world has its eyes on China.

Nonetheless, Chinese authorities really don't seem to care that the whole world is watching them. To rephrase the previous thought, the Chinese government does know that its country is being watched, but it doesn't seem to be willing to impress us, in the broad sense of the term.

With the whole world watching it, China could have taken the occasion to show us that it's a more mature country and to make some advances (albeit small ones) in human rights. Obviously, it's definitely not in a few years that China will go through a sort of "Quiet Revolution", which means heading slowly but surely toward democracy!

Indeed, it's really sad to see that this Asian country still beats the hell out of its ethnic minorities, especially people from Tibet and Xinjiang. Moreover, Chinese authorities tarnish even more their image considering the fact that they don't want an international investigation about protests in Tibet to be held. As if it wasn't enough, Human Rights Watch also mentioned that "Chinese security forces have violently dispersed [Tibetan] protestors, arbitrarily detained hundreds, and refused to account for their whereabouts or well-being."

Obviously, aside from ethnic and religious repressions, we certainly don't need to talk about China's worldwide known repression of freedom of speech on its citizens, journalists and also on foreign journalists...

This makes us wonder why did China accept to organize the Olympics by promising us to make some advances in the issues of human rights. Making such promises is like taking people for fools. In fact, as criticism on China's contempt for human rights become louder, the country just doesn't want to look at its own reality as it is. Hence, its obvious incapacity to fulfil its promise to improve its political and social environment for its citizens, above all.

Overall, while the Chinese government made a few promises here and there to be warmer to human rights while receiving the responsibility to organize the next Olympic games, it has ridiculed itself by not doing anything concrete.

Finally, boycotting the Olympic Games is not really a good idea. Of course, Western athletes do have opinions on Chinese politics. However, since sports are just a mean to celebrate the joy of physically and mentally going further, it is not the job of athletes to determine the West's relation with China. Moreover, many of them will not wait another four years to live the moment of their life. In the end, is boycotting the opening and closing ceremony of the Olympics a good idea? In my opinion, it is a fair way to separate politics from sports.

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