April 15, 2008
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.