I was wondering what the dopers opinions are on the upcoming Olympics in China. THe torch relay is being disrupted everywhere it goes. Hillary Clinton and others have called for a boycott by Pres. Bush of the Opening Ceremonies. Several prminen t athletes have said they won’t compete in Beijing due to the pollution. Tibet and other human rights abuses are still prevalent in China.
Personally I applaud those who put out the torch and I agree with Hillary Clinton that Bush should not attend the opening ceremonies. I look at pictures of Beijing and wonder why any athlete would agree to compete there with it’s smog and I wonder how it ever got to be an Olympic site at all. I know some say that politcis should not be a part of the Olympics, but IMO this is naive. The Summer Olympics, especially these ones, are all about politics and legitimacy of China’s “progress” on the world.
The protesters on the GG Bridge today have taken up 100% of the local news broadcast.
Here’s the way I see it: Everyone knew damn well what kind of regime China is and what kind of human rights record they have when they were awarded the Olympics. The time to “boycott” would have been before the selection. At this point, I don’t see that a boycott would make any difference. Let the athletes compete. I’m so sick and tired of politics messing up the Olympics.
The Olympics are an infomercial for how great the host country is and the torch relay is just a publicity gimmick, so I don’t have any problem with protesters pointing out the host country’s many and serious problems. The games themselves have no interest for me either, btw, and I am a sports fan.
Torch Relay disruptions? I’m fine with those (as long as nobody attempts to hurt the relay runners themselves… grabbing the torch is a bit iffy in my mind, not per se, but because of the potential for getting out of hand.)
Not attending Opening Ceremony, either prominent dignitaries or even whole teams (maybe just send a single member with a placard but without the flag…?) – also legitimate, IMHO.
These (the Torch Relay and the Opening Ceremony) are both political / PR events and thus are fair game for political protests.
Not competing is, again IMHO, beyond the scope of what I would consider legitimate political protest, as I still believe that the games themselves (as opposed to the gimmicks surrounding them) should not be politicized. FTR I thought the same back in 1980 re: Western boycotts of the Moscow Olympics (and of course re: the reverse, Eastern boycotts of the 1984 LA games.) I think that Couching a refusal to compete in environmental terms is hypocritical, considering some (most?) of the games’ venues in the past 2-3 decades.
As long as China abides by whatever code of conduct is required by an Olympic host country, then I don’t see a problem. Cover the Olympics, and also cover the country how you see fit. Report the bad stuff as well as good, and if China does ridiculous journalistic suppression, then use the high-profile period to really make it known.
One thing that annoys the crap out of me, thuogh, is that the government and media here in China have been hyping the Olympics so incredibly hard that I’ve been sick of it for about two years already. It’s like a Christmas season for years on end, with non-stop non-sensical coverage and Olympic paraphenalia on display everywhere. Because of this, I kind of hope that it IS a miserable failure. This whole affair is one big “face” display that’s shoved down everyone’s throat, and nothing would make me happier than to see it instead become one of the biggest losses of face in Chinese history.
Regarding losses of face, I remember how hysterical they were when they lost out for the 2000 (or 2004?) Olympics. Commentators crying on television.
Sorry to say it, but I find the Chinese culture of “face” kind of pathetic sometimes. If the same attitudes were adopted by rednecks wearing big belt buckles and and driving monster trucks, we’d have no qualms at all at pointing out how they were, ahem, “compensating fer’ something”.
It was mentioned on the news that China had promised to address its human-rights problems as a condition for getting the Olympics and then promptly disregarded their pledge. They seem to have been counting on being able to sweep the whole issue under the rug. They may be about to find out that’s just not possible.
The torch comes through Bangkok next week. I’ll be surprised if there’s much protesting.
Yeah, it’s amazing how deep “face” is ingrained in practically everyone. I see ridiculous examples of it every day. Most recently, I learned a Chinese word on an online Mandarin podcast and told my Chinese friend about it. He didn’t know what it was and insisted I had heard wrong. I told him that there are many words in English that I don’t know, that certainly it could be possible, no? He disagreed, until I finally let him listen to the podcast. Then he said it must have been a Shanghainese word (the podcast is made in Shanghai). I let it go, but I later asked more local Chinese about it, and several did know the word and have heard it used…
All of that, simply because he didn’t want to lose face by admitting he didn’t know something about his native tongue that I, a foreigner, learned first. And this is a really minor example of face-caused troubles…
I will be boycotting the Olympics (but not over Tibet)
I mostly object to the rampant corruption endemic to the Olympics which can pretty much be shown through --Where do Jones’ medals go?
-Controversial Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou has been awarded Marion Jones’ 100m silver medal from the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. Thanou is a drug cheat.
I also recommend the books of Andrew Jennings.
He has written a series of books on hypocrisy, malpractice, greed and corruption in the IOC. The IOC presents itself as the upholder of competitive and commercial purity in sport.
I’ll be interested in who wins the Protesters’ Olympics; France are leading, having extinguished the flame twice, while as usual the British competitors, for all the hype, just had a brawl and scored nothing…
The awarding of the Olympics is touted as somehow proof of a country’s progress but I don’t buy that. It’s only proof of their ability to woo Olympic delegates. Sarajevo, after all, was awarded the winter games and it’ s not exactly a model of success.
Since the flame isn’t coming to America for very long, we don’t have much time. Hoefully, the Fresno woozers can finally do something worthwhile and show that American protesters are just as energetic and messy as the French and Greeks!
I don’t advocate a boycott, except for the opening ceremonies of the President. I certainly would like to see individual athletes boycott, but I am not for forcing them to not compete. I think that where there is politics involved, and the Opening Ceremonies are clearly that, then there needs to be a message sent.