Boycott, Yes!

tibetan.jpg  monk.jpg

China’s attempt to protect itself from a boycott of the Olympics by crying Don’t make the Games political is ludicrous. As David Wallechinsky pointed out in an interview on NPR yesterday, they already are political. It is the nature of a world event to be political. Wallechinsky, author of The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics, is an expert on the Games. Interestingly, he also compiles the top ten list of the world’s worst dictators for Parade every year.

Wallechinsky says the Olympic Committee is to blame for giving the Games to a dictatorship in the first place. Yeah, hello.

If anybody is to be held responsible for ruining the Olympics, it’s not the Tibetans or those who will boycott China for its treatment of them (not to mention the Sudanese; not to mention Chinese citizens; not to mention China’s support of Burma). How about laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Chinese government for its behavior, and then pointing a finger at the IOC for supporting a brutal dictatorship?

Hu Jintao, leader of The People’s Republic of China, and number four on the worst dictators list, has befriended number one, Omar al-Bashir, of Sudan. How cozy.

“Last week China’s leader, Hu Jintao, provided Sudan with an interest-free loan to build a presidential palace. With that gesture, Hu demonstrated his contempt for the Western understanding of the world — and for Western policy toward his own country.” And: “China is not financing a presidential palace by mistake; it is doing so deliberately. It is not financing just any presidential palace; it has chosen a president so odious that his fellow African leaders hold their noses at him.”*

Birds of a feather. . . .

Who Is the World’s Worst Dictator? (2007)

1.)    Omar al-Bashir, Sudan
2.)   Kim Jong-il, North Korea
3.)   Sayyid Ali KhamEnei, Iran
4.)   Hu Jintao, China
5.)   King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia
6.)   Than Shwe, Burma (Myanmar)
7)    Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
8.)   Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan
9.)   Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya
10.) Bashar al-Assad, Syria

Olympic Boycotts** (take special note of number three, below—I thought the PRC didn’t believe in making the Games political?—oh, guess that was then)

1956, Melbourne:  Boycotted by the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland, because of the suppression of the Hungarian Uprising by the Soviet Union. Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the games over the Suez Crisis.

1972 and 1976, Munich, Montreal: African countries threatened the IOC with a boycott, asking it to ban South Africa, Rhodesia, and New Zealand. The IOC conceded in the first 2 cases, but refused in 1976. Twenty-two countries (Guyana was the only non-African nation) boycotted the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand was not banned.

1976, Montreal: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) pressured Canada to bar the Taiwanese team from competing under the name Republic of China (ROC). The ROC refused the compromise that was suggested and did not participate again until 1984, when it returned under the name “Chinese Taipei.”

1980, 1984, Moscow, Los Angeles: Cold War opponents boycotted one anothers’ games. Sixty-five nations refused to compete at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The boycott reduced the number of competing nations to 81, the lowest number since 1956. The Soviet Union and 14 Eastern Bloc nations (except Romania) countered by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

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See this BBC article about current protests by Tibetan children in Katmandu

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* Sebastian Mallaby, February 5, 2007, The Washington Post

**From Wikipedia



Filed under Eyes Wide Open, politics

10 responses to “Boycott, Yes!

  1. thanks so much for posting about Tibet, wyrdbyrd. I will see the Dalai Lama next month, I am taking teachings with him in Michigan, I wonder what he will have to say about the Tibet situation…..

  2. wyrdbyrd, if you don’t mind, I’d like to use your copy about boycotting the games in my blog….permission? I was going to write about how the games are political, writing about the black athletes who used the Black Power salute back in the day….

  3. Tom

    Boycotting is tempting indeed but if we go down this road…isn’t it going to offense the Chinese people…who will only understand what the Party will tell them to

  4. Yes, Linda, of course you can use it. You would probably be interested in listening to that interview on NPR, too. He talks about the 1968 Olympics in Mexico and how hundreds of people were killed in the streets by the government just prior to the Games, while the raised fists of the two Black athletes became the focus of the IOC’s ire.

    Yes, it will be very interesting to hear what the Dalai Lama says about the current situation.

  5. Tom, Maybe the Chinese people are more aware of the activities of their government than we think.

  6. that’s right, wyrdbyrd….check out my Global Voices links — blogs from all over the world….I know that Linda’s Yoga Journey has been blocked in China as my hits from China stopped at 30 a long time ago!

    and thanks for letting me copy your post!

  7. matthillnc

    Sign the Boycott Pledge! Visit us at and pledge your support to boycott China and the 2008 Olympic Games. Human and Civil Rights abuses, abuses to religious freedom, Tibet occupation and LGBT oppression. Tell the world “China is wrong!”

  8. Matt, Thank you for the link. And don’t forget Sudan, and China’s support of the tyrranical regime there.

  9. monica

    Wow. Incredibely racist. Since when did the Olympics have anything to do with politics? I’m not endorsing China’s actions towards Tibet but I suggest you go and get some information on the history of the two nations as well as the Chinese President. By the way, the current Chinese president is doing really well, I think he has improved China alot.

  10. Monica, I’m sorry my point of view upset you, but disagreeing with the Chinese government is not racist.

    Since when did the Olympics have anything to do with politics? It’s the nature of an international event. If you read the post you will see a list of how the Olympics have been political in recent years.

    I am well aware that there is a long history between China and Tibet and I still do not agree with China’s actions.

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