I have never liked the idea of the Olympics being held in China. The Olympics shouldn’t be held in countries that are not democracies and that regularly abuse human rights. But isn’t it a little late for our leaders in the US to start protesting now by thumbing our noses at the Chinese? The Democratic candidates for president think otherwise:
LEVITTOWN, Pa. - Barack Obama joined Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday in calling for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Clinton had commended British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for announcing that he will skip the August ceremonies in China’s capital, and called on Obama and likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain to join her in urging Bush to do the same.
Obama did later in the day; his campaign issued a statement in which, for the first time, he urged Bush to boycott the festivities.
If President Bush follows their advice, yes it will be an embarrassment for the Chinese government. Furthermore, the public in China will be very offended.
Of course, they say in Asia that a very big mistake is to cause someone to lose face. So if President Bush boycotts the opening ceremonies he will cause the whole of China to lose face. That is not going to cause China to react positively to Western demands for China to improve its human rights record. In fact, it will likely make things worse as the Chinese think “the West be damned”. The Chinese leaders will then have an excuse to run things according to what they say is the unique “Chinese way”.
US leaders should have tried long ago to keep the Olympics out of China. The selection rules for the Olympic body should be changed to only have them in democratic countries. Have them in Japan, or South Korea, or Taiwan - but not China. Have them in Italy or Botswana - but not China. Have them in Iceland or Australia - but not China.