Monday, April 07, 2008

Protesting China

Let me begin by saying that I am of the opinion that China should never have been awarded the Olympics.

Many things about China upset me. Probably too many to list here, for it would bore you and you would go away to read a post about a toddler who said something funny. Ok, well how about the oppression and imprisonment of dissidents? Or the occupation of Tibet? The artificially low yen? The lack of freedom of expression and access to information? The exploitation of their people as a source of cheap labor?

Yeah, those things. I couldn't help myself, sorry.

I sort of understand the people who say, "Oh well, this will really put the spotlight on China and this will just speed up the inevitable opening of their society."

But, I call BS on that one.

It's actually kind of like when you are dealing with a toddler. Do you reward them with ice cream when they have just hit their baby sister in the head?

Of course you don't.

Because that would be positive reinforcement, so they would have zero incentive not to continue said bad behavior.

While that may be oversimplifying the China situation, I think it has some merit.

Why would they feel the need to change their society and government when they did all the things I listed above and still got what they wanted? Where is the incentive for change?

When I heard about the recent happenings in Europe dealing with the Olympic Torch, I was proud that people were exercising their right to protest, something no Chinese would ever be allowed to do. Oh well, maybe they could protest, but then they would be shot or put on a hit list, hunted down, and just "disappear."

Some say that the Olympics should rise above "petty politics," that it should be treated as something greater than the situation in China.

What is the greater issue here?

Sports or the oppression of a people?

The world needs some more protesting, methinks.


Awesome Mom said...

I agree. I find it so frustrating that we as a country, which professes to stand up for freedom, are so dependent on such an oppressive country.

Cherry said...

Is it terrible of me to say that I am considering going to see the torch relay just to see the protests and to see if anything will happen?

I have a fair number of feelings around the goings on in China(past and present) in how it affects my father and family, and at the same time I close my eyes to it and go "La La La La". I am one of the many who tend to not pay much attention if the issues are not in my face... except it is. It is my face.

Laura said...

Excellent post. The whole thing irritates the heck out of me. Again corporate America, and its contracts appear to win over humanity.

Family Adventure said...

The thing that bugs me more than anything is the fact that they were given the Olympics in the first place. That so annoys me...where were all the protesters then?

I guess better late than never, and all that, but still! If we could've put pressure on China sooner, wouldn't we all be better off?


gmcountrymama said...

I am with you. It angers me that it was given to them. I hope there are a lot of countries that won't participate.

shell said...

i totally agree with you. there are so many other great places that the olympics could and should be held. and i don't understand why people are now starting to protest when they should have been protesting the location all along. China is an awful place and i don't understand how the olympic committee can simply overlook that. i certainly wouldn't want to contribte anything to their economy.

but, on the flipside, i heard an interesting comment this morning on the radio by the governor. he said he will be attending the opening ceremonies because politics has no place in sports, and on some level, i tend to agree with him. all the atheletes that are going to the olypics are going because they are fantastic athletes, not because they believe China is a great place or anything. but then again, they are forced to go to some oppresive country to show their greatness. something just doesn't seem right about that. sigh.

Maternal Mirth said...

amen and amen again, sista!

J at said...

I remember 80, when we boycotted the Olympics because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. I felt very badly for the athletes who had trained and honed their bodies and skills for this one event, and then had it pulled out from under them.

At the same time, a form of protest is necessary. Sports is not above politics, and nor should it be. Human rights are about RIGHTS FOR HUMANS, and athletes are human. I feel that a great disservice was done in awarding the Olympics to China, and I agree with Laura that corporate America is behind that decision. We are pretty good at slamming China and their oppressive government, but we don't walk the walk and refuse to buy any Chinese products. Why? Because these days, it's practically impossible to find things that aren't made in China. And I'm not talking toys, either.

dr sardonicus said...

Unfortunately, America would look quite hypocritical in boycotting these Olympics, seeing as how we know a thing or two about occupying foreign countries ourselves...

captain corky said...

Unfortunately I have to agree with Dr. Sardonicus, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Margaret said...

Great post.

I wish politics didn't belong in sports. Regardless of country and their politics.

But that isn't going to happen.

And that's sad.

Ther's something pure and fun and good about the Olympics.

Or...there *should* be.

I am afraid that this one may not be the same.

Kelley said...

couldn't agree more my lovely. Well said.

Hope said...

And today it was in San Fran....
I agree with Hilary C who stated that the opening ceremonies should be boycotted.
I agree with the commentors who say it shouldn't have been awarded in the first place, but with that said, denying the atheletes their moment of glory is unfair.
Heres a challenge folks for all you folks....
That I think would make an extremely loud staement.

Scout said...

I agree that China should never have been awarded the Olympics, and not just because they didn't have enough toilets in Beijing. I used to say we should do business with them because the influence will open up their society, but it hasn't worked for the last 30 years. It's not going to work by giving them this national spot light.

And for the record, I would much rather read what you think about China than about what some toddler said. We all need to remember that our kids are usually only cute to us.

Nance said...

I think you should write about whatever you want to, Gina, and if someone gets bored and wants to stop reading, then fine. He or she will come back and read another post later on. That's what makes your blog YOUR blog.

As far as the protests go, I agree with the protesting, but I really abhor the violence and the extinguishing of the Olympic flame. I still think the Olympic symbolism should be allowed to stand for international unity ON ITS FACE, so to speak, and to attack the runners is going too far. Absolutely, have a protest and raise banners and clamor for a free Tibet. I totally agree. But to use violence and to extinguish the hope of unity is to stoop to the very same level of the thing you are protesting.

Py Korry said...

I too am in agreement with Dr. Sardonicus.

Ana said...

Amen sister, AMEN! I had this same discussion a few weeks ago with a friend.

Fiona said...

China has become the factory for the world. We all enjoy the fact they can produce consumer items, cheaply.

I think it's pretty hypocritical for countries to say they'll boycott the opening ceremony while their athletes compete. Had they made more of a noise when the Games were given to Beijing, and demonstrated then, threatened to boycott then, it might have made more sense.

And it's not only China who'll gain income from the games, there are plenty US (and other) companies who jumped on the bandwagon as partners and sponsors - Visa, McDonalds, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kodak, UPS, even Staples!

Wasn't it the LA Games that first introduced the concept of commercial sponsorship to the Olympics?