Tibetans Want World Attention on Chinese Oppression Not Chinese Olympics

Chinese leaders have blamed “splittists” led by the exiled Dalai Lama for spurring violent protests in Tibet and orchestrating a public relations sneak attack on the Communist Party, as they gear up to play host to the Olympics Games this summer.

Simmering Resentments Led to Tibetan Backlash

Excuse me, China, but didn’t you take Tibet by force back in the 1950s and weren’t you the ones who split Tibet up into three parts? I suspect what the Tibetans want is not “splittist” but rather a reunification of old Tibet and a restoration of its independence.

So, to be precies, they are restorationists, not splittists.

Like the people of Myammar, the Tibetans are Buddhists. And like Myammar, Buddhism in Tibet is deeply ingrained in the culture. The Chinese government has waged a 50 year campaign to remove the Buddhist influence in Tibetan culture, just as the former ruling military junta tried in Myammar. With about the same results.

And just like the Bush Admibistration’s reaction to the repression in Myammar, the Tibetans will get little help from the Bush Administration. After all, these people aren’t even Christians, so why should we help them? And the Tibetans are not Islamic fundamentalists, so we won’t help0 the Chinese defeat the rebels. We’ll just sit back and do nothing.

This from an American president who talks about spreading democracy and about supporting human rights. Bush is good at talking the talk, but he can’t walk the walk worth a lick.

The Chinese will host the Olympics this summer. There already are a few rumblings about a boycott, but the president of the International Olympic Committee is asking that no one boycott the Olympics over the situation in Tibet. Of course not, profits come before principles. If there were a significant boycott, the IOC would lost a ton of money.

Personally, I think the awarding of the Games to China was a mistake. The IOC needs to think about the spirit of what the Games stand for when they make their decisions about who gets to host them. And they need to remember their own history. The 1980 Games in Moscow saw a significant boycott over the invasion of Afganistan by the host country of those games. The IOC needs to award the Games to countries who are not likely to resort to military intervention in their foreign or domostic politics. That would exclude Russia, China, Myammar, Turkey, Serbia, Iraq, Israel, and of course, the United States.

Maybe it’s time the IOC brought back an ancient Olympic tradition. Let’s have the Games in the same place every time – at the original location in Greece would be a nice touch. And the Winter Olympics could have a permanent site in politically neutral Switzerland.

That would reduce the politicization of the Olympics by a great deal. And every country could contribute to the maintenance costs of these sites. Heck, we could have the United Nations declare these two sites as politically neutral and that neutrality protected by the UN.

It is time to stop allowing countries to use the Olympics for their own self-aggrandizement. It is time to stop allowing commerical interests to exploit the Olympics in the name of profit.

As far as Tibet goes, I firmly believe the US and the rest of the free peoples of the world have a moral obligation to condemn China for its occupation and repression of Tibet and its attempts to destroy Tibetan culture. However, I do not advocate a boycott of the Olympics. The Olympics should not be a political football. It should be above politics.

However, I reiterate my support for a permanent neutral site for both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

And I urge President Bush to use what moral authority he has left, which is probably not very much, in support of a free reunified Tiber. It would be consist with his stand on Kosovo. But, Bush has never been one to let consistency get in his way.

Finally, I ask the United Nations General Assembly to take up the cause of Tibet. The Dalai Lama has called the policies of the Chinese government in Tibet cultural genocide and he’s right. Tibet was once a free and independent country. Time for it to be one again.


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