Politics of an Olympic Proportion

Quite frankly, I don’t even know what to think about the whole political controversy that has arisen recently over the Olympic Torch’s passing through San Francisco.

Apparently, the torch relay’s route was changed on the fly, thus messing up the plans of both protesters and supporters.

Like I said, I am conflicted. On the one hand, it is undeniable that China has a less-than-stellar human rights record on Tibet and Darfur, not to mention its own internal repression of dissenters and anyone whom the Communist Party perceives as a potential threat to its rule. Thus, from a purely moral point of view, I think the protesters have every right to protest and call for boycotts.

On the other hand, however, I feel bad, as someone who was born in Beijing, that what should have been a proud event is now tainted by the political mess. Because after all, it is in fact a big deal for Chinese citizens that the Olympic Games will be held in China. Their wanting the Games to happen does not indicate their support for the Communist Party’s policies. In fact, they really have no say in Party policy to begin with. They just want the Games to go on.

But unfortunately, the 2008 Olympics will now probably always be remembered for the political controversy that it has engendered, rather than as the first Olympic Games that China has ever held.


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