A Note to Chinese People and the Chinese Government

I just read an article written by the Associated Press* detailing how the Chinese people feel betrayed by the west because of the incidents surrounding the Olympics. To this I have one thing to say.

The vast majority of us do not hate Chinese people. We love your culture and your people. However, your government —one which suppresses and tortures your own people— is very unloved. If you are surprised by the international communities reaction to the Olympics being held in China don’t blame us. Blame your government which has misled you into believing everything was fine. The reactions you are seeing now are simply what people have felt for a long time.

Think and ask why people are upset about Tibet. Ask why people are upset about human rights. Ask why you probably aren’t able to read this blog or this post! My government, America, is imperfect too, but that doesn’t excuse the Chinese government. Demand better of the people that lead you— just as I demand better of the people that lead me.

*2011/9/30: AP article no longer online. The link was changed to give context to the post.


Ignoring China Won't Change China

Konnie Huq nearly had the Olympic torch snatched out of her hands, but even that wasn’t enough to make her reconsider what the Olympics in China means.

In a BBC interview Huq says that “taking part in the procession doesn’t mean I condone China in anyway. She goes on to say, “I believe in the Olympic values, the Olympic ideals. I think sporting on a global scale is a brilliant thing. It transcends culture, race, money” It is unclear which Olympic games she’s talking about here, but please pretend that’s true. She continues, “it’s just unfortunate that China …uhm, has such a terrible track record when it comes to human rights” Before finally saying that “the two sort of issues are separate. Taking part in the Olympics doesn’t mean that you condone China. …I understand the cause completely, but you know, this is a platform in which change can occur.” What a tremendous stand Ms. Huq is taking! Thank god we have people like her willing to pay lip service to her conscious.

The fact is that the athletes, corporations, and countries participating in the Olympics are condoning China’s actions in Tibet and in the rest of its country. I was listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today and found his words fit well here. He says, “I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal,” and goes on to add that, “Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.” (Why I Oppose the Vietnam War)

I’m not going to demand that people should boycott the Olympics, but they should consider it. It is important in these times that each person consider their own morals and their own convictions. I’ve considered these things about myself and have decided that I will not be able to standby and watch idly as a harm done to people is swept aside in the name of “sporting on a global scale.” Nor will I allow people to make the audacious claim that participating in the Olympics will bring change. If the Olympics has any chance of bring change to China, which it likely does not, it is the opposite that is true. A complete boycott of the Olympics will tell the Chinese government that the world is unhappy with their oppressive and torturous attitude towards its people. A complete boycott will also be a message that even China’s monstrous hope chewing propaganda machine will be unable to silence.


Cuba Versus China (the politics of being useful)

Steve Marshall is an English travel agent. He lives in Spain, and he sells trips to Europeans who want to go to sunny places, including Cuba. In October, about 80 of his Web sites stopped working, thanks to the

The sites, in English, French and Spanish, had been online since 1998. Some, like www.cuba-hemingway.com, were literary. Others, like www.cuba-havanacity.com, discussed Cuban history and culture. Still others — www.ciaocuba.com and www.bonjourcuba.com — were purely commercial sites aimed at Italian and French tourists.
NY Times (A Wave of the Watch List, and Speech Disappears)

The question Americans should be asking is: Why is it that Cuba is so bad but China is okay? Clearly, lack of democracy is problematic. I won’t argue that the Cuban government is saintly. But it is also impossible to argue that Cuba approaches China’s human right violations by any order of magnitude. And that doesn’t even consider its various other violations.

Why is it that China kills, tortures, and suppresses its people and gets to host the Olympics, while Cuba keeps getting punched in the throat?

Leaving that question behind, we need to ask why the US Government is engaging in practices befitting of countries like China and Cuba. What makes our actions better? How is our suppression of free speech moral and democratic?