Tibet and the Olympics

I received materials on Tibet as early as last year and did not reckon it was part of a build-up campaign to push China’s subjugation of the Tibetan people into the limelight in time for the Beijing Olympics. By linking China’s hosting of this major international sporting event to the plight of Tibet, activists succeeded in popularizing the free Tibet movement worldwide.

Recent demonstrations about Tibet held along the path of the Olympic torch in Paris has elicited controversy, especially the attempt to put out the flame, a creative way of catching international attention. Calls for countries to boycott the Olympics or at least the opening ceremonies, which will be hosted by Beijing, has also been made.

I actually do not have any quarrel with the effort to pressure China into freeing Tibet. Freedom should be cherished and no country or entity should impose itself on another. Reports on violent crackdown against demonstrators in Tibet itself is disturbing and does not look good, although reports from out there is so sketchy an objective view of what happened is difficult to form.

What I find tricky, however, is the use of the Olympics, a non-partisan undertaking, for purely political intent. Although this is not the first time that the Olympics has been drawn into a political conflict (remember the boycotts of te Games during the Cold War?), I am sure the International Olympic Committee and sports lovers have learned their lessons.

The Olympics should be shielded from politics because of the divisiveness of politics. What I mean is that in this instance the spirit of the Games should be respected.

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