07 June 2007

China, the US, and the 2008 Olympics

China is quickly emerging as the heir to the former Soviet Union's role as the second super power. China is among our biggest trade partners (seriously, find how many things in your house are marked with "Made in China"), one of the largest investors in the African continent, and the largest country in the world by population. It makes sense that such a model of the new and global economy would get the 2008 Olympics.

But should the US attend these games?

First, there is China's rights abuses in their own country. The fact that eighteen years after Tienanmen Square, they have yet to admit to any wrong doing or even allow for a memorial service in the Square itself does not demonstrate the type of nation that we should be supporting. (This is not to mention how many Chinese the Olympic construction has displaced, as Atlanta did the same thing on a smaller scale.)

Perhaps we as a nation should take a closer look at China's trading partners in Africa. Among them are the Sudan and Zimbabwe, two of the most notorious human rights abusers on the continent. China won't point out the speck in their trading partners' eyes with a plank in their own, but they won't remove their plank. China can hold tremendous sway in the reason and help to put an end to the Sudanese genocide, but instead of risking an economic advantage, they threaten to veto any UN sanctions on Sudan.

With the world on China as 2008 approaches, the US and other western nations have a great opportunity to shame China into shape. Threatening to boycott the Olympics, whose greatest supporters in recent times have been Americans, would force China to start reforming their rights policies.

But I don't see the US boycotting. China is our ally, and will be for some time, despite supporting the Khmer Rouge, despite its numerous rights abuses, and despite their support of genocidal African regimes. We want China to help us talk to North Korea. We want China to continue making our stuff. We want China. Our nation has essentially given China a get-out-of-jail-free card (or several).

Even if the US did decide to boycott, the American people would never allow it. To many rich business men are looking forward to going to the games. To many Americans depend on the Olympics to build up their national pride. NBC depends on the games to pull in advertising and viewers.

Five bucks says we would boycott the Cuban Olympics. Ten says we would boycott the Venezuelan games.

It kind of makes you wonder.

Rock on.