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Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Beijing Olympics ... A Catalyst for Real Change or a just another major Sporting Event ?



Although given my current work situation, I am not as active as I would like to be, I am a member of the Australian Tibet Council (ATC) The ATC works to promote the human rights and democratic freedoms of the Tibetan people. ATC is an independent, non-profit Australian organisation funded solely by members and supporters.

ATC undertakes a range of campaigns and advocacy work including promoting support for negotiations between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government to reach a just resolution to the Tibet situation; promotion of religious and cultural freedom and human rights, particularly in the case of Tibetan political prisoners; and the protection of the Tibetan environment and the prevention of the inappropriate exploitation of Tibetan resources.

The Chinese government continues to violate the basic human rights of Tibetans as provided by both the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China’s own constitution. These include the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

Despite China’s assurance to the International Olympic Committee that the awarding of the Olympics to Beijing would bring about improvements in human rights, there is now robust evidence that the human rights situation in Tibet is deteriorating. In 2007, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported a three-fold increase in arbitrary arrests and detention since 2006.

In September 2006, Western mountaineers witnessed an unprovoked attack by Chinese border patrols on a group of 75 unarmed Tibetans fleeing Tibet for Nepal which resulted in the death of 17 year old nun Kelsang Namtso. In late 2007, Runggye Adak, a 52-year-old nomad, was sentenced to eight years in prison for simply calling publicly for the return of the Dalai Lama during the popular Lithang horse festival in Eastern Tibet.

China promised increased media freedoms ahead of the Beijing Olympics. However, major media watchdogs, including Reporters Without Borders and the World Association of Newspapers, have reported increased restrictions on foreign media, intimidation of journalists and heightened internet censorship.

I don't want to undermine the Olympic Games, nor does the ATC, but given the spotlight of the world media is currently on China, there has never been a better time for the rest of the free world to put pressure on the Chinese government to end their human rights abuses. If you are interested, and share our concerns, please click on this link and make your voice heard by signing the petition - make these Olympic Games more than about sport; make it a catalyst for change.

18 comments:

Mountaingirl said...

I have clicked.

And I am boycotting the Olympics - not because of Tibet, I've been doing it since before Sydney - but because it is an extraordinary waste of money and whilst we have people starving, homeless, poor and without health cover, it is sheer vanity to see who can run or jump the fastest.

Tex's Missus said...

Good for you MG; and I too share your concerns about the world that can justify spending billions on sport; the very same world in which people are dying from a lack of clean water, food and basic health services. Shame on them all.

T&A said...

The Olympics are nothing more than a political tool. I for one will not be watching any of the events this year. I sure hope we don't get them (the games) in Chicago!

kyles said...

i watched kevin rudd last night on the news saying that he had no intention of boycotting the olympics, as he didn't think olympic boycotts were successful, then i hear this morning that he has made a statement hours before meeting the queen that he is committed to the idea of an aussie republic. So tell me, whats that about? i kinda thought his stance on the olympics might have been a political move, but then he grows balls before he meets the queen, wtf indeed?

i agree with mg about the sheer vanity of the olympics, and would feel better of we could use the opportunity to put some global pressure on china re Tibet, off to sign petition, thanks for the link Missus T xo

Tex said...

Ah, it's a load of commercialised shit anyway.

I'm sick of the olympics, I think they're just a way for self centred athletes to promote themselves on their own personal road to success, and a way for the masses to feel good about themselves because someone who purports to be from the same country as they are does well in a sporting event.

What a fucked up attitude, to think that I personally am good because someone from my country is a good athlete. "I did it for my country" seems really fucking odd to me, and I would ask how it helps the country, or anyone for some person to win an olympic event.

Oh yeah, some people get all teary and patriotic and have noble thoughts about the fantastic feats of endeavour, but nowadays I reckon it is a load of shit, and possibly always was.

Sarah said...

Outstanding post...we live in a world that needs change desperately. With all the voices that cry out for change, it would be refreshing it there were someone listening....

Tex's Missus said...

T&A: Your views are those increasingly felt across the globe - and given this, one wonders about the longevity of this antiquated ritual. The sad reality is that it will probably continue for decades because no-one will want to take the responsibility for shutting it down.

Kyles: Regardless of the views held prior to election, I reckon they all move to the right of centre and conform post getting into power. I'm over all politicians....Thanks for signing the petition - every single signature makes a difference:)

Tex: Ah babe, thanks for your comments :) You never fail to cut straight through the gloss to the heart of every issue !

Sarah: Yes it would - I guess if I think about it too much, I would get despondent ... so I rail and rant and sign petitions and write letters and emails and have a voice - albeit a tiny little voice, but doing something makes me feel bette r than doing nothing. I'm not naive enough to think that real change will occur anytime soon - but I would like to think that even if we got a few more people thinking, that has to be a good thing.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I used to work for a large sports betting company. I can't stand watching sport nowadays.

That and high profile sportsmen are generally overpaid idiots and self centered pricks.

Rob De Castella was nice though, and I was trying to tear his face off at the time.

Tex's Missus said...

Sean, mate....I gotta ask. You were trying to tear off Rob DCs face ?? WTF ? Please explain .......

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I met him at a Martial Arts seminar. He is a black belt in some Japanese style and not as slightly built as he appears on tv.

Kent Ragen said...

I think China's environmental record will increase dramatically proceeding the games, but the real challenge is in understanding whether or not their commitment to a "green" strategy will stay the course in the years after the Olympics.

If you want to read details read my post "An Inconvenient Olympics" at ecounit.com/blog. I make the argument that the Olympics will be the turning point for a global focus on conservation and "green" for the next decade.

Hope this adds to the discussion.

Best,

Kent

Indigo-Daisy said...

I shall sign the petition as well. I must say that in looking at American Politics over the last 5 years or so, I have seen a lot of merit to the grass roots sort of movements. I am amazed at how small groups of people can pull together across the country for a cause. Too bad we couldn't keep Bush from being re-elected that last term. We came so close.

Watergurl said...

LOL trust you to be fighting this cause, I'm so glad our minds are still on parallel universes, FREE TIBET, I personally had a belly aching laugh at the torch being blown out a few times through Paris. And the rolling scrum tactics of the Police to protect the 'flame of freedom' was hilarious. I used to love the Olympics as a kid, nowadays I think your the odd one out if your not on the take or popping something. Free Tibet.

Watergurl said...

whats your email address TM, will follow up your comment offline.

pita-woman said...

I clicked.
While I'm not a religious person, persay, I think it's very sad that so much hate and violence in this world stems from religion. What an oxymoron!

Tex said...

Hey Sean, if I supported Carlton I'd be off sport too.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Tex,

:P
You'll probably flog us

Riverwolf said...

Just came across this post--good luck in your work!