The Host of the Olympics or the Thug of Tibet?
The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 19, 2008; Page A15
As what the Dalai Lama has called “cultural genocide” goes on in Tibet, it is wholly unacceptable that Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee, refuses to take a stand against the Beijing government’s current crackdown on Tibetan protesters. In fact, this is completely at odds with the “spirit of the Olympics.”
REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)
Far more than Steven Spielberg, who quit his advisory role for the Summer Games because of China‘s unwillingness to pressure the Sudanese government on genocide in Darfur, the IOC has a special obligation to act. Since promised improvements in China’s human rights were a quid pro quo for awarding the Games to Beijing, how can it proceed as if nothing happened when blood is flowing in the streets of Lhasa?
Above: Steven Spielberg, seen in 2006, cut his ties with the Beijing Olympics. The director, while working for China, came to believe that China is not doing enough to help end the conflict in Darfur. (Associated Press photo).And if the Dalai Lama resigns from all his public positions in response to the violence, as he said yesterday that he might, the prospect of resolving the Tibet issue peacefully will be even more hopeless. We will feel very sorry if that comes about — for Tibet and for China.
If the IOC doesn’t move to put pressure on Beijing consistent with its obligations, it risks this Olympics being remembered like the 1936 Games in Berlin. Already, the spirit of the Olympics in Beijing has become associated with the word “genocide,” thanks to Spielberg and the Dalai Lama. Indeed, if the IOC and the rest of the world do not pressure Beijing to stop the crackdown and improve human rights now, a boycott of the Games will widely be seen as justified.
Peace and Freedom wishes to thank Wei Jingsheng who we consider a special friend.
The writer, a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, lives in exile in Washington. He was first arrested in China in 1979 for his activities with the “Democracy Wall” movement and was released in 1993 nine days before the International Olympic Committee voted on Beijing’s bid for the 2000 Games. He was arrested in March 1994 for “plotting against the state” and released in 1997.