The violence in Tibet last month has stunned the world and shone a global spotlight of scepticism onto the current Beijing government. Many now doubt whether an event based on the virtue of togetherness, should be staged in a country with the human rights record of China. To quote the fundamental principle in the Olympic charter, part two, it describes the 'Educational value of good example and respect for fundamental ethical principles.' Taken at face value it begs to question why the International Olympic Committee (IOC), awarded the accolade to China, when memories of Tiaanamin are in the not so distant past? Do these political factors change anything when the world’s greatest sporting event is hanging in the balance? Perhaps the world should turn a collective blind eye to the politics and get on with the show, or would this be an unforgivable act of avoidance by the West?
Comparisons with the 1936 Berlin Olympics are now inevitable. Hitler was three years
into his dramatic premiership, one that would leave a permanent imprint on the psyche of humanity. The Furher put together a propaganda stage show that was beamed around the
world. The sporting nations of the world all took part without question, tacitly consenting to the Nazi regime.
All of this leads one to wonder if history will repeat itself in the summer? Loud cries can be heard from the public and media demanding the boycotting of China’s big day. It would be a hell of a party to put a dampener on and one that could have serious economic and political ramifications for all poopers involved.
The Chinese themselves could be forgiven for sniffing an air of hypocrisy with some of the flack it has received recently. For example, what action did the west take against Russia for actions in Chechnya? European diplomatic hands were washed clean of any responsibility. The hundreds of thousand of innocent lives that have been lost in the ‘War on Terror', combined with the open brutality of Guantanamo Bay, give the Chinese a more than adequate argument for critics of their internal affairs. Closer to home, can we ever forget the queen rolling out the red carpet for the king of Saudi Arabia with Gordon Brown and David Cameron both in attendance? The Saudi family are responsible for a regime that allows ritualised beatings, stoning and beheading of its citizens for minor infractions of the law. One could be excused for thinking the Chinese may have a case for telling the west to mind their own business, with double standards glaringly obvious.
It begs the question if this would be an international issue if the Olympics were being heldin another country? Would the world be so concerned about the rights of the Tibetians ten years after the Olympics? Also, what will become of the protestors inside China after the tidal wave of hype and concern has blown over? Will this prove to be another Darfur?
Only time will tell how this issue pans out. The games will almost definitely go ahead, albeit with some forms of political protest like the 1986 Mexico games, with the infamous Black Panther salutes on the podium. The Chinese government are used to total obedience and their patience will be tested to the full in the coming months, but few mistakes will be made by this tightly oiled machine. This will be China’s opportunity on shine on the world stage, and it would take something quite spectacular to spoil this party.