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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Protest China with TV remote controls

April 2, 2008

London Free Press - Canada

China has been repressing Tibet for almost 60 years and the rest of the
world has not really cared that much.

That's what makes calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics this
summer so bizarre.

First, it won't do any good.

Second, a boycott avoids the more significant question of whether
economic sanctions should be imposed on China, as they were on South
Africa during its apartheid regime.

Of course, unlike South Africa, cutting off trade with China would have
a huge downside for western economies -- which is why no one talks about it.

Third, boycotting the Olympics, assuming you're not a world-class
athlete, is a classic case of throwing someone else under a bus just so
you can feel good.

Why should our Olympic athletes have to suffer for China's actions?

They didn't choose Beijing. The International Olympic Committee did
(instead of Toronto, the second-place finisher for the Games) and when
it did it was certainly aware of China's dismal record on human rights
-- from Taiwan, to Tibet, to Tiananmen Square, to the repression of the
Falun Gong.

Even the Dalai Lama, spiritual father of the Tibetan people, rejects a
boycott of the Games.

Rather than futile gestures that would further isolate China's 1.3
billion people from the world, we should continue to trade with China
and continue to denounce its policies of repression.

The media can do their part by not getting hysterical every time our
prime minister meets with the Dalai Lama, or criticizes China over its
lack of respect for human rights.

Similarly, if the Canadian government decides to boycott the opening
ceremonies of the Games, let the punditariat remain calm.

Finally, as one Sun Media reader has cleverly noted, if people want to
boycott the Beijing Olympics, they can refuse to watch them on television.

Think of the impact on China's rulers if the global television audience
for "their" Olympics suddenly collapsed.

Of course, this would require individuals taking personal action to
protest China's repression, instead of asking athletes and politicians
to do it for them.

-- Lorrie Goldstein,
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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