Tibet and Olympic Politics

Hillary calls for Bush to have the U.S. team boycott the opening ceremonies. Any thoughts?

I see it as a little late. As soon as the Olympic committee decided to give the Olympics to a non-democratic state, we knew we were going to have to look past the repressive government. We already knew they were repressing people in Tibet (I mean, how long has Richard Gere been running around demanding that the Chinese government "free Tibet.") So why suddenly all the concern over China's human rights record?

The torch has gone through London and Paris so in Europe so far and its been nasty to say the least. Link to video report.

I'm sure it will all go ahead but I'd just like to see everyone involved squirm a little.

To me, China getting the Olympics is proof that western society really doesn't care thatmuch about a regime that oppresses its people, as long as it isn't our people. That said you're right, telling them they can't have the olympics while having a consumer society that relies on sweatshop manufacturing is just as validating to them.

I'm tired of movements using sporting events as attention grabbers. As much as i want Tibet to be free i see all these protests and can't help but wish we'd just nuke the place and at least have something else to bitch about.

The Olympics are for physical competition not politics.

I understand the desire to protest, and I'm not an expert on Chinese culture, but it strikes me that this is the kind of slap in the face that we'd most want to avoid right now. Too much national pride invested in the event.

Hillary's on the TV saying, "Well, we shouldn't boycott the Olympics, but we should use it to protest their human rights record." But shouldn't we have thought of doing that before we borrowed billions of dollars from them and bought their cheaply made goods by the shipload?

ranalin wrote:

The Olympics are for physical competition not politics.

The Olympics are and always have been a politically-motivated event. The intent is to promote peace and understanding through shared non-violent (generally speaking) athletic competitions.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

To me, China getting the Olympics is proof that western society really doesn't care thatmuch about a regime that oppresses its people, as long as it isn't our people.

I altered the quote to reflect my more cynical view: "China getting the Olympics is further proof that humanity really doesn't care that much about a regime that oppresses its people, as long as it isn't our race/religion."

If we cared that much, we'd put more pressure on them, or stop trading. The sad fact is that if we don't care enough to break our economic relations, we should just go ahead with the Olympic involvement. It's by far a much less effective way to protest.

Farscry wrote:
ranalin wrote:

The Olympics are for physical competition not politics.

The Olympics are and always have been a politically-motivated event. The intent is to promote peace and understanding through shared non-violent (generally speaking) athletic competitions.

Not always and when it started being more of a political platform it lessened the event.

ranalin wrote:
Farscry wrote:
ranalin wrote:

The Olympics are for physical competition not politics.

The Olympics are and always have been a politically-motivated event. The intent is to promote peace and understanding through shared non-violent (generally speaking) athletic competitions.

Not always and when it started being more of a political platform it lessened the event.

The Olympics started with Polis vs Polis penile measuring and all that loving of Zeus. Aristocrats would fund chariot teams to raise their prestige within their Polis and to beat their rival Polis. Its not always been even physical events and politics were always present.

Otherwise I agree its cheap and a joke. If your going to boycott do it the real way all out not these half hearted attempts. At the least come out and lambaste China on its record and be honest that you will not pull out as its not your place to tell athletes they cant compete to make a statement.

Politics?

THIS IS... CHINA! *kick!*

Robear wrote:

It's by far a much less effective way to protest.

I look at it like some fat American tourist going into the middle of the Forbidden City and telling the Chinese, "Sure I'll take your money, and I'm still going to buy your stuff. But I am going to take out my weiner and just totally piss on the wall over there to show you how much I disrespect your culture."

What's the point, other than to irritate them and be even less diplomatic than we usually are?

The whole Tibettan protest thing strikes me as entirely too politically convenient. There are far worse human rights abuses for which our own actions are far more influential in the outcomes and yet we concentrate on China because it salves our consciences to beat up on chinamen rather than admitting our own complicity in the massacring of entire villiages in rural Guatemala or Timor.

A certain Jewish carpenter would admonish these protesters to remove motes from eyes.

Paleocon wrote:

The whole Tibettan protest thing strikes me as entirely too politically convenient. There are far worse human rights abuses for which our own actions are far more influential in the outcomes and yet we concentrate on China because it salves our consciences to beat up on chinamen rather than admitting our own complicity in the massacring of entire villages in rural Guatemala or Timor.

A certain Jewish carpenter would admonish these protesters to remove motes from eyes.

Too politically convenient for the Tibetans (and Uighurs) use the spotlight on China as leverage to change their situation? There would have been protests along the torch route Tibetans didn't rise up on March 10th this year in dramatic fashion (which they do every year to some extent, its the anniversary of the 1959 uprising) but this reaction seems to be a genuine outpouring of support for Tibet on the part of westerners.

China may continue to paint itself the victim in this exchange but that fact is the Tibetans outside and most importantly inside Tibet are trying to spark a revolution. Despite the media lockout and intense media pressure, there continues to be protests and Tibetan attacks on Chinese targets in Tibet.

Time will tell if it will improve their situation but one thing is for sure it will A) stem the Han migration to Tibet proper and Tibetan cultural regions in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan; and B) plant the seeds of dissent in the generation that hasn't been through the cultural revolution or the 88-89 riots.

Welcome to the world stage China, enjoy those difficult decisions.

TrashiDawa wrote:

Welcome to the world stage China, enjoy those difficult decisions.

You don't think they'll be perplexed by our protest when the protest comes after we invaded Iraq and tortured some of its inhabitants?

Funkenpants wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:

Welcome to the world stage China, enjoy those difficult decisions.

You don't think they'll be perplexed by our protest when the protest comes after we invaded Iraq and tortured some of its inhabitants?

They will certainly see it as hypocritical. I'm saying its not so much about what's happing outside Tibet, China will have to make some tough calls because of whats happening inside Tibet, the world is watching, China wants to be perceived as a responsible world power and it can't have its cake and eat it too.

As far as "we" go, what should we do, just say "oh those darn Chinese are turning Tibet into Shenzhen again...but you know since we live in a glass house I guess we just have to live with it."?

I say because we are unhappy with how our govt. has behaved in some cases in Iraq (and in another interesting parallel with the Indians) we should be all the more adamant that it doesn't happen again in Tibet.

TrashiDawa wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:

Welcome to the world stage China, enjoy those difficult decisions.

You don't think they'll be perplexed by our protest when the protest comes after we invaded Iraq and tortured some of its inhabitants?

They will certainly see it as hypocritical. I'm saying its not so much about what's happing outside Tibet, China will have to make some tough calls because of whats happening inside Tibet, the world is watching, China wants to be perceived as a responsible world power and it can't have its cake and eat it too.

As far as "we" go, what should we do, just say "oh those darn Chinese are turning Tibet into Shenzhen again...but you know since we live in a glass house I guess we just have to live with it."?

I say because we are unhappy with how our govt. has behaved in some cases in Iraq (and in another interesting parallel with the Indians) we should be all the more adamant that it doesn't happen again in Tibet.

Planks and eyes.

If we are truly concerned with human rights and the human condition, wouldn't it make far more sense to exert our influence in areas in which we are in more direct control? First do no harm.

TrashiDawa wrote:

the world is watching, China wants to be perceived as a responsible world power and it can't have its cake and eat it too.

Western governments worry far more about economic issues than what happens to Tibetans. The Europeans are no more willing to pay the price of offending China than we are. So you might have various groups within the west who complain, but there won't be any practical effect. What's the point of the government insulting China at the Olympics when everything else we do shows that we don't care enough to give up anything to stop the oppression? We look like hypocrites.

I guess that's the problem I have with this. I understand the need to try to get China not to violate human rights. But doing that via the Olympics strikes me as a move that won't accomplish much and will end up backfiring on our own efforts to look better around the world.

Funkenpants wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:

the world is watching, China wants to be perceived as a responsible world power and it can't have its cake and eat it too.

Western governments worry far more about economic issues than what happens to Tibetans.

As well they should. Are the governments conducting the protests along the torch route?

Funkenpants wrote:

What's the point of the government insulting China at the Olympics when everything else we do shows that we don't care enough to give up anything to stop the oppression? We look like hypocrites.

The action you are seeing from governments like the banning of opening ceremonies, motions in congress etc. are pandering to a constituency that cares about the Tibet issues. Its what politicians do in democracies. I do agree with you that it will accentuate China's victim mentality and have some negative effects, but China's central government is obviously losing control and this will help highlight that fact and we (democratic countries) should welcome these cracks in the facade.

Paleocon wrote:

Planks and eyes.

If we are truly concerned with human rights and the human condition, wouldn't it make far more sense to exert our influence in areas in which we are in more direct control? First do no harm.

Because this is the issue at hand son. We hear it from the world everyday on the issues you have laid out in this thread. China has flown under the radar for its nonsense for a long time and that won't fly if it wants to assert itself as more than a regional power.

Funkenpants wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:

Welcome to the world stage China, enjoy those difficult decisions.

You don't think they'll be perplexed by our protest when the protest comes after we invaded Iraq and tortured some of its inhabitants?

It's a combination of the fact that we've lost any standing to criticize anyone because of our little Iraq adventure and that they own enough of our debt that they could absolutely wreck our economy if they wanted to.

TrashiDawa wrote:

As well they should. Are the governments conducting the protests along the torch route?

Well, keep in mind that I started the thread talking about Hillary wanting the government to take action. As far as the general population goes, I doubt many people could point out Tibet on a map. I doubt they'd want to have the government take action during the Olympics. Maybe we'll see some polling on that at some point.

OG_slinger wrote:

. . . they own enough of our debt that they could absolutely wreck our economy if they wanted to.

They can sell the debt they have, but they'd take a loss. They bought a lot of low yield government bonds in a declining currency that bear an interest rate at or near the level of inflation. That was a terrible idea. I'd see it as a good thing if that changed, because they're irrational decision-making ended up distorting our economy and our thinking. We'll have short term pain if they begin to act like rational actors, but we'll be healthier for the medicine in the long run.

Funkenpants wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:

As well they should. Are the governments conducting the protests along the torch route?

Well, keep in mind that I started the thread talking about Hillary wanting the government to
take action.

Has she suggested any action other than banning the opening ceremonies?

Funkenpants wrote:

As far as the general population goes, I doubt many people could point out Tibet on a map. I doubt they'd want to have the government take action during the Olympics. Maybe we'll see some polling on that at some point.

Whether folks can or can't find Tibet on a map, many Americans do care about the Tibetan cause. You could make the case that there are other causes that are equally worthy of our attention as Palecon does (such as another cause in China; the Uighur independence movement) but Americans like Tibet primarily because of the Dalai Lama and we do indeed have a history of providing material support to their cause albeit in the context of the Cold War. We have also abandoned them when we thought it was in our interest. Because of the high visibility of Tibet in the American conciseness, it seems natural to me that politicions would want to be perceived as supportive of Tibet.

Funkenpants wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

. . . they own enough of our debt that they could absolutely wreck our economy if they wanted to.

They can sell the debt they have, but they'd take a loss. They bought a lot of low yield government bonds in a declining currency that bear an interest rate at or near the level of inflation. That was a terrible idea. I'd see it as a good thing if that changed, because they're irrational decision-making ended up distorting our economy and our thinking. We'll have short term pain if they begin to act like rational actors, but we'll be healthier for the medicine in the long run.

Good analysis. On the economic front China and the US have each other over the same barrel. Works kind of like mutually assured destruction to maintain stability.

TrashiDawa wrote:

Has she suggested any action other than banning the opening ceremonies?

I don't know. I'm not sure much more is needed. A billion Chinese will remember for the next few decades the time the Americans came into their new home during their "moment" and pissed all over it. I just don't see giving that kind of offense over something that we've essentially agreed to tolerate by our actions in the commercial sphere.

Regarding American's view of Tibet, it's a subject that a large number of "high information" voters are familiar with, and many less informed Americans may have vague feelings of goodwill to the Dalai Lama, but if the groundswell against China over Tibet was going to happen, it would have happened before now.

I'm having a hard time imagining this level of Western outrage over, say, the Olympics being hosted in Washington, DC despite the fact that Bush has engaged in a clearly expansionary war, kidnapped and tortured foreign nationals, and supervised forced migration in Iraq that can charitably be described as ethnic cleansing. It seems to me that there is at least a sizable portion of this "outrage" that is simply beating up on chinamen.

So, the rumor now is that they'll be taking the torch out on a boat, thus not only bypassing the protests and spectators, but also f*cking over the torch bearers.

Funny this being the topic de jour it came up in one of my last Econ classes because the Prof is from Russia and spends allot of time in China so he would be able to give a detailed Eastern perspective.

His short version was a intellectual F-Off, people with dirty hands shouldn't be pointing fingers.

His quick points were: Its the equivalent of telling Americans to leave north America and if you don't like that example a closer one to him would be telling Russia to free Siberia (his basis for this was the long run history of Tibet being part on and off of China something I want to learn check in detail).
That the last place in the world that Serfdom existed was in Tibet and the Dali Lama only changed his tune on that one when he realized he was a decade or so late and Democracy was what he needed to get behind for support.
That Tibet actually has more freedom in certain instances for example they are exempt from the one Child limit and when Mao took Tibet on in the 1949 revolution he allowed them to be autonomous and allowed them to continue their Serfdom until the revolt in 1959.

Not my opinion stuff he said but very interesting and I actually want to look into some more of it.

He also gave the point that the 18 people killed were Chinese not Tibetan and even if you assume the higher number of 100 theres far worse happening in Iraq right now. I got the feeling he pretty much felt it was a convenient distraction especially in the west where in China the outcry isn't so much Free Tibet but why law and order isn't being maintained in Tibet and 18 people died.

Ah, the ol' switcharoo. New rumor is that they're running it on Van Ness instead of the Embarcadero. So, pissed off protesters now joined with pissed off commuters heading down one of the city's main arteries.

Edit: Rumor no more. There's a good chance there's going to be a wave of crazies flowing across town towards Van Ness.

Rat Boy wrote:

Ah, the ol' switcharoo. New rumor is that they're running it on Van Ness instead of the Embarcadero. So, pissed off protesters now joined with pissed off commuters heading down one of the city's main arteries.

Edit: Rumor no more. There's a good chance there's going to be a wave of crazies flowing across town towards Van Ness.

Maybe some Iraq war protesters could head them of at the pass and they could have an old fashioned throw down as to who's protest is more important. Last one standing gets ignored by the government in the wrong.

I'm hearing reports that one of the biggest hassles is that the Chinese wanted their media truck to drive in front of the torch bearers and that's been slowing up the works. The slower they go, the more time the protesters can get to Van Ness by way of Lombard or Bay Streets. It's like two trains about to collide in the middle of the city.

Now they're heading west on Bay Street, possibly towards Marina Green or, if they're really crazy, all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Guess what my sister, the intrepid ex-reporter, in the city just sent me:

IMAGE(http://img86.imageshack.us/img86/4368/getattachmentaspxky5.jpg)

IMAGE(http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/4425/getattachmentaspx2my3.jpg)

Those are the two buses carrying the Olympic torch, the runners, and the entire entourage surrounding them.