Monday, October 24th, 2016

Killing dissent is not an Olympic Sport


The Dalai Lama denies trying to “sabotage” the Beijing Olympics but groups supporting a free Tibet “could remind the international community, including the Chinese people, about the repression and urgency of the situation in Tibet.”

His statement came a day after Chinese authorities warned preparations had been made to stop campaigners opposed to China’s rule of Tibet from protesting in the Himalayan region before and during the Olympics.

Pro-Tibetan independence groups have sought to use the Olympics as a platform to publicise their cause with publicity stunts in Tibet and Beijing.

In April last year, five Americans from Students for a Free Tibet were expelled from China for staging a demonstration on Mount Everest in which they called for Tibetan independence.

In August, during celebrations to mark the one-year countdown to the Games, another six foreign free-Tibet activists staged a two-hour protest on the Great Wall near Beijing and were promptly kicked out of the country.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to “liberate” the devoutly Buddhist region, and has violently suppressed a number of uprisings since then.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed revolt against Chinese rule, has set up his government-in-exile in Dharamshala.

The Dalai Lama is wrong. The Beijing Olympics will go as they have in all totalitarian regimes, from Hitler’s Berlin games to Moscow in 1980: a giant propaganda feat masking the oppression. While geopolitics make it a tough call whether individual nations should boycott, we should be under no illusion that the games will be of any benefit to the oppressed in China, let alone allow any airing of grievances. Those under the boot of Chinese Communist rule have no responsibility to support the Beijing Olympics, and arguably have a moral responsibility to condemn the rest of the world holding a party dancing on the blood stains of Tiananmen Square.

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