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Bull, China, Shopping

Well, the 2008 Summer Games are drawing nearer, and it seems that everyone is getting into the spirit of celebrating the Olympics and their host, Beijing, China.

Those of us who opposed awarding the Games to that city and nation from the outset are growing fewer and fewer -- but the evidence that we were right is growing.

My reasons for opposing Beijing were twofold. First up, the Olympics are a "reward" for being a good member of the international community. Countries that have a brutal record for outward aggression and inward oppression are usually excluded from the honor. And on that front, China's record -- on both fronts -- is indisputable. Outward aggression? Talk to Tibet. Or Taiwan, formerly known as the Republic of China. Inward oppression? Try being a Christian there. Or a member of the Falun Gong (which I don't know much about, but I've heard described as "Tai Chi For Jesus"). Or bring up the protesters who wanted just a taste of freedom in Tiennanmen Square. (That last one might be difficult -- a lot of those who didn't end up as tank tread grease ended up dying of acute lead poisoning, with their families being given the bill for the bullet.) Hell, just try to exercise your "right to choose" concerning your reproductive freedom and have more than one child. Even if it's to replace a child killed in a substandard government building in an earthquake, you still better get government permission -- and if you don't, you get to be Roe V. Waded whether you like it or not.

OK, tha'ts purely political. And the Olympics are supposed to be apolitical. (I will pause briefly so everyone can have a hugely derisive laugh.) How about purely pragmatic reasons?

Well, how about the strong possibility that going to Beijing and competing could seriously injure -- or even kill -- the athletes?

China is a signatory to the Kyoto Accords, that wonderful agreement that was supposed to end global warmening and make the world a brighter, cleaner, happier place. As a result of that decade-old agreement, Beijing has some of the most polluted air in the world. It's often declared as "unsafe" for "sensitive groups."

Athletes are among the healthiest people around. But I suspect that some of them are like high-performance cars -- capable fo remarkable feats, but high-maintenance and fragile. While they're competing in Beijing, I suspect that a lot of them will be breathing very heavily and sucking in a lot of air. Many of them will be competing outside. And with every breath, they'll be sucking in a devil's brew of smog, toxins, metals, pollutants, and all sorts of things that are "not healthy for children and other living things."

But that's not too high a price to pay for keeping the tyrants of Beijing happy, and selling us cheap stuff, and buying our stuff (often without our permission -- see any of a number of Chinese spy scandals), so what the hell. Let them have the Olympics.

As I said, people like me are seriously outnumbered on this front. President Bush is planning on attending the opening ceremonies. Senator Barack Obama is planning on advertising on the television coverage. And I don't know what Senator McCain's position is, but I suspect it isn't too much of a concern for him, either.

Screw them. I'm standing my ground. I, personally, intend to boycott any and all Olympic coverage and news stories for this spectacle. (No great sacrifice for me; I've never given a rat's ass about sports anyway.) Let others be bought off with cheap trinkets and short-term gains, and let them turn a blind eye to the heinous crimes of the tyrants of Beijing.

I can't do that. There isn't a hell of a lot I can do about it, but I can do this. And I will.


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Comments (12)

Olympics are a "reward" ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Olympics are a "reward" for being a good member of the international community.

I won't go so far as saying this is incorrect, only that I have never heard that before. Can somebody please back this with a reliable source.

"As a result of that decade... (Below threshold)
max:

"As a result of that decade-old agreement, Beijing has some of the most polluted air in the world."

How so? I think Kyoto is a big pile of doodoo too, but how is it the cause of Beijings pollution?

I agree and have all along.... (Below threshold)
JP:

I agree and have all along. China is a totalitarian, communist dictatorship and I favor not only not giving them the Olympics, I favor the US not doing so much business with them. We are financing their economic and military growth and weakening our own industrial capability, which is vital to a sovereign, independent country.

I found this quote from the... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

I found this quote from the IOC. It's a mind-numbingly DUH! moment:

"Had the IOC, and those vested with the decision to award the host city contract, known seven years ago that there would be severe restrictions on people being able to enter China simply to watch the Olympics, or that live broadcasting from Tiananmen Square would essentially be banned, or that reporters would be corralled at the whim of local security, then I seriously doubt whether Beijing would have been awarded the Olympics," the commissioner said.

They never got the 'Communist China' memo?

Besides all that, who can r... (Below threshold)

Besides all that, who can really stomach 2 weeks of Bob Costas, ad nauseum human-interest stories and get up at 4am to watch a "sport" where anorexic gymnasts dance across a mat with fucking ribbons.

And pardon me, but where the fuck does the IOC get off in banning the Iraq Olympic team? The IOC claims that Iraq's OC violated IOC rules because gov't officials were on its OC. IOC rules state a country's Olympic committee must be 'free of political influence'. OK, fine. Sounds great! So China's Olympic Committee aren't ALL Chinese gov't officials? Please. I guess Iraqi officials couldn't come up with enough dough to bribe the IOC.

I have a suggestion for a new Olympic Games tag line. It ain't "Just do it" but it's fairly accurate:

"The Olympics. When the world comes together every 4 years to bribe a single nation into sinking billions down a 2-week, economic rathole. And oh yeah, play some sports, too."

You're not being cynical en... (Below threshold)
jim2:

You're not being cynical enough.

China fears greatly any loss of face.

Think of all the opportunities they have been given to do so by the Games being there. China will accrue the home field advantage, which will certainly help their medal count. However, consider all the real-time cameras, the smoggy panoramas, the media prima-donnas, the medical issues, their moral high ground on Kyoto, the security challanges, the demonstration chances + security reactions, etc.

Could turn into one of the most fun Games since the 1936 Games in Berlin with Jesse Oens and Hitler!

"Jesse Owens" - I hate typo... (Below threshold)
jim2:

"Jesse Owens" - I hate typos!

Why couldn't I have messed up Hitler's instead?!

I used to be a huge critic ... (Below threshold)

I used to be a huge critic of China in many ways not too many years ago. However, with business dealings I had with the Chinese, I find them to be great persons to do business with. They are very polite and really appreciate foreign business from the U.S.

Many American wholesalers are the absolute worst to deal with. Back when I was in the record business in the late 1970's for example, some record distributors were actually run by local organized crime groups. In one example, some local goon that worked for some opposing business once came into a business I owned and even threatened to cut my throat with a knife unless I charged higher prices for the products I sold. I stood up to this goon and told him that responsible businessmen don't act like a bunch of gangsters and go around threatening each other with violence and that it's nonsense like this that will only bring government down on businesses and white collar crime convictions. He backed down. Who in business really wants to deal with nonsense like this on a regular basis when the Chinese are so much better to deal with and actually appreciate your business.

Compared to having to deal with so much nonsense with so many corrupt American businesses, the Chinese are very honest and offer some pretty good bargains for such low prices on some of the merchandise they sell. You can even buy street legal motor scooters as low as $390 each in shipping containers of 40 pieces for example. Try to get such a deal like this elsewhere. And many more bargains are available from China on just about anything you can imagine.

China is also an important world player in foreign policy, and every new effort to invite them in as a respected major world player only serves to help to moderate their Communist society. Certainly more business dealings as well as improvements in the environment will follow from all of this. The Olympics will prove to be a very important step in more improvements in Chinese society.

China is simply an important player in business and in world affairs. It's their turn to host the Olympics in my view.

After reading what Paul jus... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

After reading what Paul just wrote I've tried to say something here about forty ways and keep having to delete it. The fact is, words can't describe what I'm thinking.

Paul hasn't looked at their... (Below threshold)
epador:

Paul hasn't looked at their factories, so he doesn't understand your reaction, oyster.

Max,Unless I'm wro... (Below threshold)
Bird:

Max,

Unless I'm wrong, under Kyoto a "developing" nation such as China needn't be hamstrung by Kyoto's constraints and therefore can pollute like a m'erf'er until it catches up to the West. Makes a lot of sense, right?

That's right, Bird, but it ... (Below threshold)
max:

That's right, Bird, but it still doesn't explain J's claim that Beijing is polluted "as a result" of Kyoto. That simply makes no sense.




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