Sunday, August 10, 2008

China's Olympics

We should give them the Olympics. If they are on the world’s center stage, they will settle down and join the world community. They will act with more restraint and be more cooperative. Further, they will know that we have moved on and put past animosities behind us. They need not worry about our intentions towards them, and, as a result, they will cease their massive rearmaments and attempts to destabilize governments throughout the world.

And look. Our efforts must be working, for they have significantly reduced (perhaps eliminated, oh we hop e so) their persecutions of religious and ethnic minorities. Yes, clearly, giving them the Olympics has worked beyond our wildest dreams. Surely, we will now enjoy peace and, more importantly, prosperity, in our time.

These are the sentiments expressed by many today. They are the same sentiments expressed by the same sorts of folks in 1936 during the Nazi Olympics. And we know how that turned out for everybody concerned.

If you’re watching the Olympics (I’m not), enjoy China’s Nazi Olympics. The slave laborers in their prisons (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1DF163FF933A0575AC0A967958260; http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=16577), their persecuted ethnic and religious minorities (http://www.american.edu/ted/ice/xinjiang.htm; http://cecc.gov/pages/hearings/2008/20080618/fu.php), and the oppressed Tibetans (http://www.freetibet.org; http://www.tibet.com) won’t share your enjoyment.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Dear Rich,
given the stark terms you're using, one is forced to agree with you. However, I don't know many people making the argument as baldly as you put it here. I think others would say that China is greatly imperfect but that the Olympics will make them less isolated and expose particularly the common people to denizens of Western democracies, as a result of which these Chinese who make such contact will think of folk like us as non-threatening and friendly. It will also expose some Chinese to Western products, Western ways of thinking, and Western openness generally. While such exposure may not change Chinese government policies on the ground, it may help to alter the thinking of some Chinese, and that in turn may bear fruit down the line. I don't know that boycotting the Olympics would have done much good: it certainly at least in the short term would have helped to isolate China, and as N. Korea shows, an isolated Asian regime can be a huge problem. I think that the President struck the right tone: criticize the Chinese where they are at fault but acknowledge the nation as important and give credit to them for putting on not a perfect Olympics but a pretty good one. Time will tell.

You are absolutely right, however, to point out the very real abuses suffered by many Chinese citizens. We must always keep that in mind and not romantically feel that the Chinese regime is a civilized Western democracy.

On the other hand, I don't think that China is what it was under Mao; neither is it Nazi Germany.

--Stephen