The China Games Debate


olympics protest twn.jpg
For those interested, I have done a two-part exchange, a debate really, with New Republic deputy editor Richard Just over the issue of how an American President should approach the question of the Olympic Games with respect to ongoing human rights conditions in China.
The first part is up — and the second should be up later today. . .I think.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


18 comments on “The China Games Debate

  1. David says:

    I withdraw my request, especially because of your comments on a more recent post. I agreed with nearly everything you said, except that while China has been at it for 5000 years, I don’t see any particular wisdom on their part, only cleverness as they out-West the worst aspects of western industrialization and exploitation. Outsmarting the buffoon who foolishly insulted them in an adolescent way while the president of the United States is way too easy. It doesn’t require much experience. And China most certainly holds a big chunk of the note on the United States, thanks to Idiot and Assistant Idiot, who squandered our treasury, eviscerated our ability to replenish it without mortgaging our national existence, and destroyed our national soul with the war crime generally referred to as the Iraq War.
    Yes, Tibet is part of China, but they don’t want to be, China is quite heavy-handed and not at all reticent about how they will enforce their will – just another powermongering juggernaut. That phenomenon I will never get used to, not by us, not by them, not by anybody. Thus would I moon the bastards.


  2. Kathleen says:

    The only place Bush should go is straight to hell, with or without a handbasket. Tahoe Editor is right.. if US Athletes are participating in the Olympics, why not Busholini?


  3. David says:

    Please explain to me, Don, how wanting to moon a bunch of overlords is racism. I would love to do the same thing to the bastards in the White House, just as I would love to have mooned Adolf and company in 1936. Ruthless powermongering is ruthless powermongering, totally irrespective of race. I am not aware of any time in history when any race was either exceptionally pure or exceptionally ruthless. It’s just part of the human condition, usually situational, and at the moment one focus is the Chinese government and its behavior toward Tibet. Please read just a bit more carefully what I wrote. And while you’re at it, please also explain to me how my disgust at what was done to Native Americans makes me racist toward my European forebears, or how my agreeing with Jimmy Carter about the blockade makes me anti-semitic.


  4. Puzzled says:

    How is a war criminal supposed to take a moral stance about human rights violations? You keep leaving that fact out of your calculations.


  5. Tahoe Editor says:

    The real story here is that Barack Obama purports to be ready and willing to meet with dictators of all stripes and sizes within the first year of his presidency with no preconditions, but he doesn’t know if he’d go sit in the stands and represent the United States during Beijing’s opening ceremonies. What?


  6. Bartolo says:

    First of all, the names Richard Perle and Fred Hiatt are not “diverse” when it comes to aWol’s hideous war.
    Second, we are the pot that disses the kettle.


  7. Seth says:

    I’m ambivalent about the impact of a Bush Boycott — seems like we’d need a larger group of Heads of State in order for a symbolic gesture like that to reverberate beyond a few days worth of headlines.
    There are two far more concrete and effective actions that I’d like to see, though:
    One is for visiting journalists to engage with Chinese journalists and in simple, everyday and only marginally confrontational ways, facilitate the posting of foreign-journalist content to Chinese host sites, and of Chinese-journalist content to foreign host sites. The Olympics seem an ideal setting for journalists to toy with the boundaries of content generation and hosting.
    The second is for every American athlete who medals to publicly dedicate their medal to jailed and oppressed Chinese human rights activists like Yang Tonyang, Huang Jinqiu, and Shi Tao. It would embarass and upset Chinese leadership, while coming from non-official channels. Moreover, the response of the US government to any fallout would be a subtle and very powerful reinforcement of the athletes’ point: the US government has no control over the actions of its free citizens, and their actions do not speak for Washington.


  8. Tahoe Editor says:

    Hillary says nothing about U.S. athletes’ participation, and I’m sure if you asked her she’ll be cheering them on this summer.
    So Bush is showing us he doesn’t know how much he cares about human rights, and Hillary is showing she has some background and understanding and is taking a stand.
    There is no obligation for world leaders to attend Beijing’s opening ceremonies. Bush’s waffling is due to current events; Hillary is ahead of the curve on this one, and she is just saying the U.S. president should find something else better to do than attend Beijing’s opening ceremonies. I don’t see what’s immature about that.
    Really, who wants to see Bush at the opening ceremonies anyway? Who wants to see him anywhere?
    Hillary’s right on multiple levels — Americans and indeed the world don’t need to see any more of this man. Her call for him not to attend is anything but simple minded.


  9. Nikolas Gvosdev says:

    There is an important piece of the story that keeps getting
    ignored–the series of events surrounding President Bush
    accepting Hu Jintao’s invitation last fall. Consult the IHT on
    September 17, 2007. “Officials say the White House decided to
    accept now to soften the blow of Bush’s decision to attend next
    month’s ceremony in Washington where the Dalai Lama … is to
    receive the Congressional Gold Medal.”
    The IHT, echoing the New York Times editorial, said, “We
    suspect that Bush might have gotten even more leverage if he
    had put off his acceptance until closer to the games”–which
    seems to be the strategy French president Nicolas Sarkozy is
    But this debate is half a year too late. It should have happened
    last September–and it didn’t.


  10. Tahoe Editor says:

    “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” — Hillary’s Beijing speech
    These are the words of an immature simpleton?
    I’m guessing with the lack of traction Steve’s getting, we won’t hear much more of this …


  11. Tintin says:

    J Street is a MAJOR development. Very good news.
    An obvious move that should have happened long ago.
    But better late than never.
    And, as the ads used to say, “You don’t have to be Jewish to join J
    (Some have argued, though, that it’s not the best of names.
    Doesn’t really say what it does and stands for.)


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This issue is HORSESHIT compared to discussing the recent formation of “J Street”.


  13. karenk says:

    Olympic work and train hard for this opportunity, which only comes along every 4 years. Will them not competing get political prisoners in China out of jail? In fact, will George attending or not attending? He’s got plenty of political prisoners of his own. But maybe he should attend, then tell the Chinese to “stop doin’ this shit”, as he’s so eloquently fond of saying.


  14. Don Bacon says:

    My, my, such racism toward Chinese (“the bastards”) from Americans who are busy destroying other people in Asia. Even the Dali Lama hasn’t called for a “free Tibet.”


  15. David says:

    One of the great moments in Olympic history. The other list-topper is Jesse Owens burning up the track (and Hitler’s Aryan nonsense) in Berlin in 1936. Pity Avery Brundage was such a coward that the United States refused to also treat Hitler to some outstanding Jewish athletes. Of course the Olympics are political. Only question is, What constitutes smart politics in relation to China?
    I tend to agree with Steve on this one. Mostly I think the athletes should participate, and I hope they have consciences and the courage of their convictions. For the promoter$, the Olympics are one more major event to commodify. Consciences are a nuisance.
    Hope one of the female athletes rips off her top when she wins, maybe with Free on one breast and Tibet on the other. I would be more inclined to moon the bastards, with Free on one cheek and Tibet on the other. OK, so that is probably better reserved for late night on Comedy Central. But it would be fun.
    Ultimately the Chinese strike me as just one more westernized commercial juggernaut pillaging the planet and eviscerating the ecosphere. We taught them well.


  16. Mr.Murder says:

    Clemons makes statement enough with the picture.
    Political protest is best elevated when it gets deserved attention. What better place to have women and men awarded, to exemplify opportunity for others.


  17. Tahoe Editor says:

    The Guardian says “there is no tradition of world leaders attending these ceremonies.” Are you saying Bush MUST attend these ceremonies? Is attending somehow the only way to avoid being called “simple-minded”?
    Why don’t you say anything about Merkel, Sarkozy, Tusk? Or Obama’s courageous “of two minds” position where everything is on the table and no stand is taken?
    This smells a little like an arbitrary checking of the anti-Hillary box now and then a la Dan Abrams to maintain an artificial appearance of “balance.”
    Who is going to the Olympics opening ceremony?,,2273412,00.html
    Who Isn’t Boycotting Olympics? Nobody


  18. Tahoe Editor says:

    You ought to include comment on Gordon Brown and any other world leaders who won’t attend the opening ceremonies, and equally paint them with your “immature, wrong-headed, simple-minded” brush and see how the picture looks.


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