beijing 2008 one world one nightmare

Last weekend, at the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Athens, International Olympic committee chair Jacques Rogge made the claim that “the…

Last weekend, at the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Athens, International Olympic committee chair Jacques Rogge made the claim that “the Games have advanced the agenda of human rights” in China.

On the same day, a Chinese court sentenced land-rights defender and Olympics critic Yang Chunlin to five years in prison for his part in a human rights letter-writing campaign.

Earlier the same week, another activist, Hu Jia, was in court on charges of being “a danger to society” after he published an article on the internet describing human rights abuses directly related to the Beijing Olympics.

Among other things, the article claimed that 1.25 million Chinese have lost their homes to Olympic development, often with no resettlement scheme in place. Many are simply left homeless.

Some, who have dared to complain about their summary evictions, have ended up in prison, where among other abuses they may be shackled to beds and beaten with electric prods.

China imprisons more writers and journalists than any other country in the world. Journalist and poet Shi Tao is currently serving 10 years for posting an article relating to human rights and the Olympics.

Qing Shuijin got 13 years for the same crime. They are among dozens, possibly hundreds, of writers arrested since Beijing won its Olympic bid.

In the wake of China’s brutal repression of Tibetan demonstrations, some countries are making noises about boycotting the Beijing Olympics.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has hinted at a boycott of the opening ceremonies, and Belgium is considering its options. The Canadian government has been mute on the subject, but according to Chris Rudge, CEO of the Canadian Olympic committee, there are “no circumstances” under which Canada would boycott the Games.

Canada’s economy has become hopelessly intertwined with the Chinese giant. We’ve shipped the bulk of our manufacturing there to take advantage of lax regulations on health, safety and environmental protection.

We’ve encouraged Chinese partnerships in our own resource industries, and actively pursue China as a customer for Canadian oil.

In short, we are compromised to the point of silence.

As Chinese troops incite riots in Tibet, shoot protesters and round up others to be imprisoned and tortured, the Canadian prime minister chokes up a few platitudes about ‘restraint,’ and it’s business as usual.

The slogan of the Beijing Games is One World, One Dream, and if the Games come off well the world will have given its stamp of approval to China’s dream: a dream of unchecked progress backed by extreme state control and harsh repression of dissent.

To send athletes to Beijing is to join in a celebration of China as it is today: mass forced eviction, arbitrary imprisonment, concentration camps, enslavement of political prisoners, state-sanctioned murder and torture.

Whenever the subject of an Olympic boycott arises, athletes and coaches respond with a howl of protest. Politics, they say, have no place in sports.

Athletes train all their lives for a shot at Olympic gold, and shouldn’t be used as political pawns. Or as Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel puts it, “Using sport and athletics as a political tool is wrong.”

This argument is based on the risible notion that competing in the Olympic Games is in itself a politically neutral act.

The Olympics are by their nature political, and the awarding of the 2008 Games to Beijing was a particularly blatant act of political engineering, a move to put the worldwide stamp of approval on the worst excesses of Globalism.

If they’re heading for Beijing, Canada’s Olympic athletes may as well get used to the politicization of sport.

A communiqué issued by China’s Ministry of Public Security lists 11 categories of people who will not be permitted to participate in the Games, including political dissidents and human rights defenders, as well as certain journalists, news organizations and religious groups.

In Beijing, athletes will be housed on land expropriated by force, they will lend their goodwill to the practice of imprisoning and torturing dissidents, and they’ll compete against a pared-down Chinese team of politically acceptable athletes.

Discus-thrower Fang Zheng holds two Chinese records in his sport, but authorities have blocked his participation in the Special Olympics, because they don’t want the world to be reminded of how he lost his legs — under a tank in Tiananmen Square.

Al Pope won the 2002 Ma Murray Award for Best Columnist in BC/Yukon. His novel, Bad Latitudes, is available in bookstores.

Just Posted

The Yukon has confirmed 33 active COVID-19 cases on June 15. (file photo)
A new study has discovered beaver castoreum on a 6,000-year-old Yukon atlatl-throwing dart. Photo courtesy of Yukon Government.
Beaver casotreum residue found on 6,000-year-old atlatl throwing dart

The discovery of beaver castoreum on a throwing dart could be the first instance where its use has been identified in an ancient archaeological context

The Yukon’s current outbreak of COVID-19 is driven by close contact between people at gatherings, such as graduation parties. (Black Press file)
Yukon logs 21 active cases as COVID-19 spreads through graduation parties

Anyone who attended a graduation party is being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Yukon RCMP and other emergency responders were on the scene of a collision at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway on June 12. (Black Press file)
June 12 collision sends several to hospital

The intersection at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway was closed… Continue reading

The sun sets over Iqaluit on Oct. 26, 2020. Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle school came from household transmission and the risk to other students is low. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Iqaluit school’s contacts and classmates cleared after two COVID-19 cases

With an outbreak ongoing in Iqaluit, the Aqsarniit middle school has split students into two groups

An extended range impact weapon is a “less lethal” option that fires sponge or silicon-tipped rounds, according to RCMP. (File photo)
Whitehorse RCMP under investigation for use of “less lethal” projectile weapon during arrest

Police used the weapon to subdue a hatchet-wielding woman on June 4

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents.
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

The move comes in response to a call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015

Teslin Lake is one of two bodies of water the Yukon Government has place on flood watch. (Google Maps Image)
Flood watch issued for Teslin Lake, Yukon River at Carmacks

The bodies of water may soon burst their banks due to melting snow and rainfall

Kluane Adamek, AFN Yukon’s regional chief, has signalled a postponement to a graduation ceremony scheduled for today due to COVID-19. She is seen here in her Whitehorse office on March 17. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
AFN Yukon’s post-secondary grad celebration postponed

The event scheduled for June 14 will be rescheduled when deemed safe

(Alexandra Newbould/Canadian Press)
In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on.
Terror charges laid against man accused in London attack against Muslim family

Liam Casey Canadian Press A vehicle attack against a Muslim family in… Continue reading

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, poses for a portrait in the boardroom outside his office in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Sept. 30, 2020. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Two cases of COVID-19 at Iqaluit school, 9 active in Nunavut

Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle… Continue reading

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Most Read