‘08 Olympics turning into a political event

With summer just around the corner and the 2008 summer Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing just four months away, many U.S citizens are wondering whether or not the United States will be or even should be participating.

China has almost completely disregarded its pre-Olympics promises to loosen up when it comes to human rights; instead, it has been noted that they’ve actually been tightening the control over their citizens.

This includes the crackdown on Tibet citizens fed up with China’s oppressive government, the coming down on journalists by restricting freedom of speech, press, and the media in general, as well as the recent suppression of religious and human rights activists. Many argue that by representing the United States in China, we would be turning a blind eye to their political policies and oppressing government and likely come off as indifferent to the issue.

Pulling out of the event entirely just may bring the kind of negative attention to China that would raise many important questions as to the way their government treats its citizens.

President Bush has declared we will be attending because he would like to support U.S. athletes at the games; however, Democrats in the House as well as Senator Clinton have been pressuring Bush to forego the opening ceremonies as a way of making a huge statement on behalf of the United States.

It is likely that a no-show wouldn’t really do anything; however, there’s a chance it would further aggravate the situation. Much like how China relies on the United States to help establish it as a first world nation, we rely on China for help on issues like fighting terrorism and the reconstruction of Iraq, as well as maintaining stability in the Middle East.

Not to mention the large trade network we have set up with China in which we rely heavily on them for importing textiles, toys, and other products. China is also anticipating our appearance at the Olympics because of the boost it would give their economy. Who knows what may happen as a result of the U.S not attending.

It is unfortunate that the Olympics have to become a political platform even today, when instead they should be about promoting international unity. It would be a shame to turn away the athletes that have worked hard and trained all their lives for this moment to represent the United States in the 2008 games; this is a sporting event, not a political rally. Thank goodness at least Bush feels the same way.