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Tony Avella Rallies for Tibet, Boycotts Olympics

March 13, 2008
March 10, 2008

200803beijing.jpgCity Council member and probable 2009 mayoral
candidate, Tony Avella, is the latest politician to ask for America's
withdrawl from the Beijing Olympics if China will not grant Tibet
independence. Under China's rule for over 50 years, Tibet has made no
headway, even with the support of human rights groups, activists...and
Richard Gere. When we interviewed Robert Thurman, co-founder of the
Tibet House, earlier this year he touched on the Olympics, saying:

The thinking is that if you give them a big P.R. thing to do like the
Olympics, they won't want people to see how they're beating up the
Falun Gong or whatever it is they're doing lately. This is a
fallacious concept but within that it's true that the Chinese are
trying to clean up their act so they won't be embarrassed during the
Olympics. Unfortunately, what the Chinese consider 'cleaning up their
act' is to wipe out people who might do human rights protests; they
don't mean stopping the human rights violations.

Today a rally in Manhattan is taking place commemorating the
anniversary of the 1959 uprising against China. Avella is in
attendance and will most likely use this event to introduce his
resolution, which demands New York City-based corporate sponsors
boycott the 2008 Olympics, and that the International Olympic
Committee move the games from Beijing. He stated, "That's the only
thing that will make them do anything — international pressure."

If it sounds improbable, this wouldn't be the first Olympics the U.S.
has boycotted; in 1980 the Moscow Olympics were boycotted in protest
of their invasion of Afghanistan. There have also already been many
prominent names dropping their support of the games. The NY Sun
reports that last month "film director Steven Spielberg left his
position as a consultant for the games in response to the country's
ties to the Sudanese government, and in January, Charles, Prince of
Wales, said he would not attend the Olympics as a protest against
China's treatment of Tibet." Björk has also been making some noise
lately; and even Paul McCartney is boycotting, though over the
country's use of dogs and cats for fur.

However, President Bush, not to be swayed by private citizen
Spielberg, has already ruled out the boycott possibility this year,
and says he simply views it "as a sporting event."
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