Beijing Olympics – Why Do I Have a Bad Feeling About Them?

I really hope that the Olympics in China go well.

But this concerns me:

With less than two weeks to go before the Olympics open in Beijing, the Chinese government is facing the horrendous possibility of terrorist attacks aimed at the Games. On July 23 an apparent terrorist group released a video taking responsibility for bus bomb blasts a few days before in the southwestern city of Kunming that killed two people. The group also claimed as its own another attack in Shanghai that killed three people in May.

As does this from Amnesty International via the BBC:

The human rights situation in China has deteriorated, not improved, with its hosting of the Olympic Games this year, campaigners Amnesty International say.

It documents the use of “re-education through labour”, the suppression of rights activists and journalists, and the use of arbitrary imprisonment.

I’m concerned that threats of terrorism, combined with human rights abuses, environmental problems,  and a resurgent Chinese nationalism may be a toxic combination.

I worry that Chinese government and some Chinese nationalists might respond too negatively to the  inevitable criticism of the games and security measures. I wonder if the protests against human rights policies in China might provoke a harsh backlash from Chinese citizens who feel that their country is not treated fairly as a major world power.

This all seems like a recipe for disaster.

I hope I’m wrong.

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6 responses to “Beijing Olympics – Why Do I Have a Bad Feeling About Them?

  1. You don’t like olimpic? Neither do I. I don’t like sports.

  2. I am one of those who believes that giving the Olympics to China in the first place was a monumental lapse in judgment, even for the IOC, which is really saying something.

    Their human rights record is atrocious. My God, they even sent military-trained thugs to deal with protesters along the torch route.

    Their record on the environment is every bit as bad, as the LAT article ably points out.

  3. It’s tough to say. I’m not Chinese. Remember to respect their culture. I mean they have a 1000 year head start on our “civilized” culture. But then:

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24048920-38197,00.html

    Not so hot.

    MrG

  4. GB, I also had the same concerns when I learned that the IOC had awarded the Olympics to China. “What were they thinking” was my response. I think they may be up to the task logistically, but I worry that they won’t be able to handle criticism well.

    mrgonz, exactly. Of course I have a great deal of respect for Chinese culture. They evolved so far outside of European culture in ways that far surpassed our ancestors.

    But as your link points out, the actions of their government in the human rights realm concern me.

  5. China is the world’s leading executioner and the biggest jailer of journalists and dissident bloggers. It uses torture and censors the Internet and the media.

    It promised that hosting the Olympics would improve human rights:

    “By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help in the development of human rights,” that was said by Liu Jingmin, vice-president of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, in 2001.

    It has yet to happen.

    It isn’t political. Human rights – the right to things like health and shelter to the freedom of expression and religion – are the basis of human life. Standing up for human rights is to stand up for the values enshrined in the Olympic Charter

    Check our Amnesty’s mircosite and take action – http://www.uncensor.com.au

  6. Thanks for the information, Kimbatch!

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