Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Using the Olympic Games as a Platform

A few weeks ago Steven Spielberg pulled out as an artistic advisor to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Spielberg said that China has not put enough pressure on the Sudanese government to end the conflict in Darfur and that he could not continue to play a role in the 2008 Olympics with a clean conscience. The Chinese government responded by saying Spielberg's decision was unfortunate and that politicizing the games is out of synch with the Olympic spirit.

Chinese citizens are also challenging the domestic human rights record of the Chinese government. A social activist was recently arrested for distributing a petition titled "We Don't Want the Olympic Games, We Want Human Rights." This "crime" could carry a penalty of up to five years imprisonment for Mr. Wang.

Do you think a country with a record of human rights violations should be allowed to host the Olympic games? Are the games an appropriate platform to campaign for political change and human rights?

3 comments:

aditin said...

It is a matter of pride for any country to host the Olympic games. The games are not directly associated with government decisions regarding China's relationship with the Sudanese Government. However by people;s refusal to participate in these games, a strong statement is made to the Government that the world does not want to participate in an event hosted by a country that is indirectly supporting such human rights atrocities in another country. It will be a blow to China's national pride if people refuse to participate and even if the games do occur, a clear message will have been sent- that the world is against the actions of the Chinese Government. Hence, I think that the actions of people like Steven Spielberg are a brilliant way to use a world publicized event to bring to light the actions of the Chinese Government and shame them into bringing about some changes in their actions.

aditin said...

It is a matter of pride for any country to host the Olympic games. The games are not directly associated with government decisions regarding China's relationship with the Sudanese Government. However by people;s refusal to participate in these games, a strong statement is made to the Government that the world does not want to participate in an event hosted by a country that is indirectly supporting such human rights atrocities in another country. It will be a blow to China's national pride if people refuse to participate and even if the games do occur, a clear message will have been sent- that the world is against the actions of the Chinese Government. Hence, I think that the actions of people like Steven Spielberg are a brilliant way to use a world publicized event to bring to light the actions of the Chinese Government and shame them into bringing about some changes in their actions.

Ryan said...

I personally believe that the Olympics are not an appropriate platform for political issues. Instead it should be about athletic competition and putting all differences aside for a couple of weeks. There is another time and place for political issues and the Olympics is not one of them. Boycotting the Olympics would be an incredible injustice to all of those who have worked hard to make it there.