Bailey: Support peaceful protests in China

By By Ben Bailey

By Ben Bailey

Ah, the Olympic Games, a time when not just people but even countries can put aside their differences and just appreciate the beauty and capability of the human body — or not!

Actually, the Olympic Games have a history of controversy and boycotting, because some countries believe that other countries’ actions are just not tolerable. Now, once again, the Olympics are being surrounded with controversy over China being given the right to host the Olympics.

Protesters have been surrounding the Olympic torch, demanding China make changes before hosting the Olympics. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has requested that George W. Bush not attend the opening ceremonies in protest. These protests are using the Olympic Games as a springboard to show that what China is doing is intolerable.

The response from the Bush administration was that the Olympic Games are not about government and politics but about the athletes themselves. I must admit, it is a beautiful thought. Perhaps countries, just like human beings, need a time to shut up, kick back and enjoy the ball game, so to speak.

However, I think that the protestors are doing the right thing. There is a time and a place for everything, but when a country such as China is making such a strong violation of human rights, there isn’t a time to be silent.

China has occupied an incompliant Tibet now for more than 50 years. Strong violations of human rights and genocide are taking place. Because of the violent occupation, it is difficult to find one family in Tibet that hasn’t had a family member killed by the Chinese government.

There have been more than one million people killed. The culture is also slowly being demolished, because children are not being taught their ancestral language. The Tibetan people are denied freedom of press, assembly and religion. Slowly, it seems as though China is trying to squelch Tibetan independence altogether.

However, Tibetan independence and defiance remain strong and continue to grow. The Tibetans want their country back, and China is refusing to give it to them.

The Bush administration still holds to its claim that this isn’t what the Olympic Games are all about. I agree. However, this isn’t the time to be silent. It’s time to make some sort of stand for democracy. It is ironic to me that the Bush administration can’t back Tibet in this small way.

The way Tibet is being ruled is definitely not democratic, and it seems as though there are plenty of other times when the administration has justified much bigger and more violent actions under this same banner. Tibet’s independence is an appropriate enough cause to support with a peaceful demonstration at the Olympics.

As for the protesters, I say keep protesting peacefully.

The Olympics are a great place to find media coverage, and if more people using it as a springboard make more people aware of what is happening, then more power to you.

The Olympics are a chance for us to put our differences aside and celebrate the capabilities of the human body and spirit. It would be sad if we blindly let a country so repressive to human capabilities host the Olympics without saying something.

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