Use Olympic Games to pressure China
As the Beijing Olympics approach, Chinese police have cracked down on Tibetans.
A brutal crackdown following the most significant uprising against Chinese repression in nearly two decades has brought attention to Beijing five months prior to what has been billed as its coming out party -- the Olympic Games. The festivities should be used as an opportunity to create pressure on China to cease violating human rights.
The unrest began with a March 14 riot in the Tibet capital of Lhasa. China's state-controlled media have branded the Tibetan separatists as terrorists against the ethnic Han Chinese. The police crackdown resulted in 660 arrests and 19 deaths, according to the government, while the Tibet government in exile says the death toll was at least 140.
Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., are calling for a boycott of the Olympic Games. Other forms of pressure are more realistic, led by a New York-based organization called Dream for Darfur, described in yesterday's New York Times Magazine.
Jill Javitt, Dream's executive director, shot down a suggestion by activists that President Bush be asked to skip the Games' opening ceremonies. "He's not going to do that," she said, "and I'm not in the business of asking for things I'm not going to get." Bush also has rejected a U.S. boycott of the Games.
Instead, Dream for Darfur successfully pressured director Steven Spielberg to resign in February as creative consultant for the opening ceremonies. The organization will not divulge its "secret plan" for during the Games.
"From start to finish, what we want China to fear is death by a thousand cuts," Savitt told the Times. "China thought it would only face a ham-fisted boycott. It is getting something more sophisticated, more insidious."
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