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January 28, 2011

Tibet In Turmoil: Reason To Boycott Olympic Games?

The Olympic Games are one of the few places where people from around the word can gather peacefully and compete against one another. The medals that the athletes win are badges of pride for themselves and their countries. I always find myself in awe of the determination of the athletes that participate in the games and the emotions that winning and competing bring out.

This year the Olympic Games will take place in China, a place that is making great strides in the world, but not progressing in some areas at all. With so much focus going to the troubles in the Middle East, it can be easy to forget about some of the other areas of the world where trouble is constantly brewing. Tibet was overtaken by the Chinese in 1959 and has remained under Chinese rule, continuously since that time. This is a struggle that does not get attention at all until something happens, such as the recent protest that have been going on over the past week or so.

Over the last few months there have been a few big names that have quietly declined from attending or participating in the Olympics. With the exception of Prince Charles, most of those figures have been individuals that were neither competing in the games or a part of government. However, as the turmoil increases and more and more people are paying
attention to this struggle, the call for protests have begun to spring up.

The type of protest that seems to be getting the most attention is the idea of boycotting the opening ceremonies. This seems to be a mild way of showing that some countries are not happy with the way that the Chinese government is dealing with the issues in Tibet. While I can understand the urge to want to do something to show discontent, I have to wonder why now? Tibet has been under Chinese rule for quite some time now. The world has been aware of this for decades and boycotting the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games seems like a very easy, hands off approach to showing Chinese government officials that they are displeased with the situation in Tibet. Also, what exactly would boycotting the opening ceremonies mean? What statement would these governments be making? Are they saying that the Chinese should give Tibet their freedom? Or are they simply saying that the violence of recent protest is unacceptable? If the latter is the statement, then why boycott? If the message is, manage your problems better instead of fixing them by giving Tibet freedom or reaching some sort of compromise, I think the gesture is a waste.

When I speak of freedom for Tibet, I understand that completely relinquishing control may not be realistic at this point. However, the increase of human rights in the region and allowing people that live there to practice their beliefs would be a start. Compromising and taking some peaceful measures may help to ease tensions and bring a stop to recent violence. While it may seem a little rude for Tibet to stage these protest now, it is kind of hard to stay quiet while the government that oppresses you throws a party for the entire world.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Tom | Mar 27, 2008 | Reply

    About boycotting the Olympic Games, i’m not sure it will do any good…On the contrary it will upset the Chinese People who will only understand what the Party will tell to understand…
    We’d better go as the OG are a great means to directly communicate with the Chinese People without the communist filter.
    There are some athletes who will wear a green ribbon as a sign of protest. This is a symbol that the government will find difficult to explain to the millions of Chinese in front of their TV…

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