I know there is the argument that suggests that having the Olympics in China is good for the human rights issues as it shines a spot light upon the place and forces them to do something about them, or at least makes them less obvious. And I know that every country hosting this event could have a finger pointed at it for some kind of abuse – Australia and its treatment of refugees and the lack of apology to its indigenous peoples at the time of our Olympics, LA Olympics and so on.
BUT – every time I hear or read something about China it seem that they have just such an obvious and harmful reputation for disrespecting individual rights that I question how any good can come from a few weeks of spotlight, In fact the was a good article on the ABC radio national on a ll this a few weeks ago. They had a guy who has made this issue an area of study and he suggests that once the games are over, historically most cities are just left behind. People literally pack their bags and walk away. A few photos are all that remain. The games are over, the spotlight is off. All the people who once had homes and were abusively evicted to make way for a decorative garden bed, still have no homes and we no longer care as the games have finished, spotlight is off. I just can’t sit and gain any pleasure from watching these games knowing as much as I know (and that is very little, but enough).
So I wont.
Nope, I am making a personal decision not to view any Olympic telecasts.
What will it do?
Well nothing really, I have signed a few partitions and joined a Facebook Cause group, but I have doubts as to this being of any effect, so why do what I am doing? I guess it is personal, it is just that idea of drawing pleasure, personal pleasure, of watching a massive ceremony and the games that follow, knowing that the whole thing has happened at the expense of defenseless people being pushed aside, abused etc in order for me to enjoy some sport. I guess also, I have issues with the west’s obsession with China now that it’s getting rich and our lack of ever calling them to account for human rights violations of that past including their current treatment of Tibet and support for Zimbabwe and the like.
So I for one will not participate in any way with the Olympics this time around.
Post Script –
I just got this letter –
The spectacle of the opening ceremony. The competition in the pool. The drama in the glamorous stadium. All of this and more will be broadcast around Australia and the world when the Beijing Olympics get underway in just a few weeks time.
But what about the executions still being carried out by the Chinese Government? Or the ‘Re-education through Labour’ camps where hundreds of thousands of people are detained without charge or trial? What about the torture that is frequently reported? The repression of free speech?
This is the China the authorities do not want you to see. Please don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes. Get the full picture on China.
Claire Mallinson National Director, Amnesty International Australia