Monday, March 24, 2008

Tibet again

situation not evolving, really.
Here there is a starting to be a call for a boycott of the Games.
Apparently 53% of the french are in favour of Sarkozy boycotting the opening ceremony of the Games, not the competitions. (well, yes, it'd be a shame not to win a few medals, wouldn't it :D)
interesting position though; a token boycott, just the opening ceremony.
55% of the population does not want the athletes to boycott the games; and 71% thinks that the Olympic Committee should meddle in human rights, although its president, Jacques Rogge, has been saying that it isn't the Committee's purpose, and a number of political figures, such as george Bush, have opposed the boycott on the ground that the Games aren't political, but are just a sporting event.
Which is slightly naive, especially after the USA's call to boycott the 1980's Olympics in Moscow after the invasion of Afghanistan. Which, according to Vladimir Federovski, aide to Mikhail Gorbachev, had some slight use.
We've had to listen to Bernard-henri Levy's usual flowery indignation (french left-wing philosopher and writer); Robert Ménard, head of Reporters sans Frontières (reporters without borders) has been calling for a boycott for months to protest against China's imprisonment of journalists; well, let's say he's on overdrive at the moment.
The reelected mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, thinks that a boycott isn't the solution, but that something has to be done. Not hearing any proposals though.
From what I've heard, boycott isn't a popular solution in most of Europe; Britain is against it, but that might also be because they're hosting the Games in 2012 and fear a backlash; on the other hand, Gordon Brown should be seeing the Dalai Lama in the coming days or weeks.
Yes, populations are in favour of boycotting (like in Sweden, 70% of the population) but governements, athletes, national olympic committees are opposed to it.
The question is : would a boycott make China change it ways? Or would it drive the country into isolation and make enemies out of the chinese people who are very proud to be hosting these Games?
I don't think China will change because a bunch of jumped-up foreigners didn't come. And yet something needs to be done.
The problem is, China seems to see the West as wanting to smear China, which is practical since then anything said against China can be cast off as gratuitous.
Like Nancy Pelosi, who the Chinese accused of being muddled and habitually bad-tempered. ( a reason for her comments, which didn't agree with them of course)
Rather unfair, and terribly sexist. But that's a whole other story.
I'm betting there won't be a boycott. The Olympics are in five months; that gives China ample time to smooth things over.

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