Saturday, April 5, 2008

Big Trouble In Little China

Would someone please call the folks in Beijing and tell them to chill the heck out? After the latest series of bad news events from China, U.S. officials and other world leaders are probably waiting for Ashton Kutcher to run up at any moment and tell them that they just got Punk’d.

C’mon, you know how rowdy those wild and crazy Tibetan monks can be. The violent crackdown that resulted in the deaths of at least 10 Tibetan freedom protesters is evidence that the Chinese government is clueless about the extent to which the Olympic Games exposes the host country’s policies to criticism.

The Olympic flame lighting ceremony was disrupted by Tibetan protestors this past week. And to make matter worse, China is blocking CNN, YouTube, and other news organizations from reporting about the Tibetan crackdown.

The rapidly rising tide of negative news stories puts world leaders in an uncomfortable position of defending China’s indefensible, extreme tactics to quell free speech.

Many world leaders now face a growing chorus of voices favoring a boycott of the Beijing games. The ambivalence of China’s response only fans the flames.

While agrees that China’s record on human rights is beyond reprehensible, we believe that an Olympic boycott is a terrible idea. First, China really doesn’t care what the United States – or any other country for that matter – thinks about their domestic policies. Second, a boycott really only punishes athletes around the world – including Chinese athletes – who have worked and suffered for the precious opportunity to represent their country on the Olympic stage.

Beijing Officials are nearing a tipping point where the host city’s issues become a distraction to the spectacle, competition, and pageantry of the Olympic Games and its’ unifying message. Maybe Beijing officials should try taking the high road on these matters. has a prepaid phone card for anyone who wants to make that call.

I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

By Jay Hicks, a.k.a. Track Evangelist.

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