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<-Back to WTN Archives Tough Call: Beijing Olympics (CNNfn)
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Thursday, July 26, 2001

2. Tough Call: Beijing Olympics (CNNfn)

07/20/2001 CNNfn: Market Coverage - Morning

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNNfn ANCHOR, MARKET CALL: In our "Tough Call," a very intense
competition to win the right to host the Olympics. Last week a controversial
winner, Beijing won the right to host the 2008 Olympics. But despite the
cheering, hugs and fanfare across the communist country, which included a
fireworks show, many human rights groups are criticizing the International
Olympic Committee for giving China the Olympics. Those in favor of the decision
say allowing China to host will open the country to more businesses and open
markets, which will inevitably force the country to deal with its human rights
violation issues.

Joining me on our set is John Hocevar, with the Students for a Free Tibet. And
to make the "tough Call" in Washington, Myron Brilliant, from the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce in Washington. First of all, John, let me ask you, what is the
problem that you specifically have, briefly, with China winning the right?

JOHN HOCEVAR, STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET: Well, it just doesn`t really seem that
it`s appropriate to give the opportunity to host the Olympics to the same people
who are responsible for the massacre in Tiananmen Square and the brutal
occupation of Tibet.

CHERNOFF: Mr. Brilliant, there`s no doubting the fact that China has had some
very serious human rights violations, why would China deserve the honor of
hosting the Olympic Games?

MYRON BRILLIANT, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Well, I think a quarter of the
world`s population lives in China. I think it`s a wonderful opportunity for the
Chinese people and for the Chinese government to show that it`s anchored in
stability and reform. A lot`s changed in China since 1989. And I think this is a
chance for China to show the world that change is good and that the reform that
is taking place there is solid and moving forward.

CHERNOFF: John Hocevar, do you feel that there`s some serious reform going on in

HOCEVAR: I think there`s been some economic change, but as far as change in
human rights, actual improvement in the lives of the people in China and Tibet,
I don`t think that many people would agree that that`s happening. Amnesty
International, the Human Rights Watch, even the U.S. State Department haven`t
found that there`s been any improvement in human rights in China or Tibet.

CHERNOFF: Myron Brilliant, is this merely a business issue here? Are business
people ignoring the human rights issue in favor of pursuing one of the great
markets in the world?

BRILLIANT: Not at all. I`m reminded of the schoolchild who misbehaves. Do you
want to kick that schoolchild out or do you want to try to bring that
schoolchild into the community? And I think we want to try to bring China into
the world community. And I`m reminded on what the Dalai Lama has said on
previous occasions, which is, we don`t want to isolate China, we want to bring
them into the nations around the world and have them be prosperous in terms of
economic reforms, but also, frankly, try to change political reform by engaging
China. And I think that`s a positive thing. I think China joined the World Trade
Organization, and hosting the Olympics is a chance for it to show it is in fact
committed to a path of reform. It has economic benefits, but it also has other

HOCEVAR: I don`t know. I don`t think very many people would argue against
engagement, it`s just the problem is that we don`t really see that very often,
if ever, from the business community. What we see instead is more like

CHERNOFF: Well, Mr. Brilliant, certainly there`s been an effort to move China
forward in the human rights area by, as you mentioned, engaging them in trade,
trying to get them to open up their markets. Do you honestly feel that it has
worked thus far?

BRILLIANT: I do. I go to China quite frequently and I`ve seen a tremendous
change in China. A lot of people have been lifted out of poverty. They have
access to information they never had access to before. It`s changing their
attitudes. They want to buy American things and products. Michael Jordan is one
of the most famous people in China. And that`s because they have access to
information. And I think that is changing behavior in China and influencing
reformers in the Chinese government, all to a positive end. China`s human rights
record is not perfect but it`s improving...

HOCEVAR: I don`t know how...

BRILLIANT: ... and we`ve got to find ways to engage China, not isolate it.

HOCEVAR: people knowing about Michael Jordan helps.

CHERNOFF: Well, maybe Michael Jordan isn`t the answer to all the problems there,
but clearly, economic development, Mr. Hocevar, can help many people in China.
You would not debate that, would you?

HOCEVAR: Certainly, but as far as the business bringing change, it hasn`t
happened yet. China right now is in the middle of a "strike hard" campaign. The
recent figures are that China has executed more people in the past three months
than the rest of the world has in the past three years. So from the business
community, what we get is rather than working or promoting change, we get
business working directly in opposition to forces that would help the Chinese
people, installation of independent trade unions. The big business community
doesn`t want that.

CHERNOFF: Mr. Brilliant?

BRILLIANT: I tend to disagree, Allan, with John on that point. I think we`ve
made many strides in trying to engage labor in China. Certainly, American
companies pay much higher wages than the typical Chinese person gets in China.
We also have brought our attitudes, our values to our businesses in China. We
bring them over here, bring Chinese people over here to learn about our system.
I think engagement has worked and there`s been many positive aspects of it. Not
just economic aspects, but other aspects. The exchange students that come to the
United States to learn about our school system, they bring back values that they
learn here in the United States. It`s positive.

HOCEVAR: No one`s arguing against exchange programs. For example, we`ve got BP
Amoco (URL: , one of the largest investors in China today.
And they`ve been completely unwilling to raise any significant, meaningful
issues with their partners in the Chinese government. They have even been afraid
to ask if forced labor is going to be used in their own projects.

CHERNOFF: OK, John Hocevar, thank you very much, for the Students for Free
Tibet, as well as Myron Brilliant, appreciate your comments from the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce. Thank you both, gentlemen.

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Dalai Lama slams Lhasa rail link (
  2. Tough Call: Beijing Olympics (CNNfn)
  3. Powell: Human rights issues hurt China's standing in world (AP)
  4. Beastie Boys, Pulp, ... Set For London's Tibetan Freedom Concert (ASN)
  5. LETTERS - Does China meet the criteria for holding the Olympic Games? (FT)

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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