The Summer Olympic Games

We hope that Olympic attention focuses on China’s injustices.

Beginning in four months, the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics have been protested heavily already. Though China is an emerging world power, the government remains oppressive to many of its citizens through human-rights violations. As the Chinese government has grown wealthier, the country’s people, especially in rural regions, have had little benefit. The Chinese government has also done nothing to acknowledge the rights of Tibet and Myanmar and the Uighur people. And, China continues to enable the slaughter in Darfur. Yet China wants to ignore these wrongs during the summer games.

The Olympics are political. As the world comes together, these issues, in addition to other international injustices, should be discussed. The entire world is at a breaking point – countries and cultures are in conflict almost everywhere. But controversies or protests have always been kept muted by the host country and the International Olympic Committee in the modern era of the games. Instead, a mask of international unity is assumed. As the world is watching, host nations show only one side of their country – their best side. Poverty, oppression and injustices, both in the country and inflicted by the country throughout the world, are ignored.

This first happened in the modern era of Olympics in 1936, when Germany hosted the games. Adolf Hitler reintroduced the lighting of the Olympic torch. And as the torch was carried from Athens to Berlin, the flame passed many people that would soon be conquered and massacred by the Nazis of Germany. Then, when the world had a chance to make a stand against Hitler, few spoke up.

But, these summer games are different. Most recently, in Paris and San Francisco, people have stood together to rally against China and the government’s violations of human rights.

China has long ignored international calls for reform. People, from across the world, have spoken out in protest. Now, governments need to take a stand. China wants the attention of the world for the Summer Games; let us hope the attention given is fixed on China’s injustices.