April 15, 2008

What Would the Boycott Accomplish?

Fareed Zakaria thinks boycotting the opening ceremonies of the Olympics makes no sense. He points out that the Chinese government is not really acting in opposition to the feelings of its citizens (and we know China cares more about domestic politics than foreign politics, as does the United States, generally):

Public humiliation does not work nearly as well on the regime in Beijing as private pressure. At first glance, China's recent crackdown in Tibet looks like a familiar storyline: a dictatorship represses its people. And of course that's part of the reality -- as it often is in China. But on this issue, the communist regime is not in opposition to its people. The vast majority of Chinese have little sympathy for the Tibetan cause. To the extent that we can gauge public opinion in China and among its diaspora, ordinary Chinese are, if anything, critical of the Beijing government for being too easy on the Tibetans. The real struggle here is between a nationalist majority and an ethnic and religious minority looking to secure its rights.

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Buddhists Got Game « Dharma Folk's picture

[...] to reach across lines of tradition, culture and language. In the shadow of the current Olympic controversy, it’s easy to forget that sports really do have the power to unite us, but only if we also [...]

Buddhists Got Game « Dharma Folk's picture

[...] to reach across lines of tradition, culture and language. In the shadow of the current Olympic controversy, we sometimes forget that sports really do have the power to unite us, but only if we also choose [...]

sjburris's picture

I agree with Fareed Zakaria's essential analysis of one part of this problem--"the real struggle here is between a nationalist majority and an ethnic and religious minority"--but I disagree with his solution. The Chinese people--whoever they are and whatever they think--don't have the information to make an informed decision about the Tibetan people and their bid for autonomy. If the world community refuses to participate in the charade that the Games have become, the Chinese people might have to confront a rather large and opposing opinion . . . that of world's. And they might begin to gather the information that would explain that world opinion to them. I realize that isolating a bully can often provoke more bullying behavior, but finally one has to realize that indulgence has its price tag as well, which is often collected in human lives.

I confess, however, that I'm uncertain what Zakaria means by "private pressure." Perhaps therein lies a solution I'm unaware of.