Sunday, March 16, 2008

International Olympic Image

Western China is looking like a mess at the moment as I read plenty of articles (mostly through proxy servers) that are often contradictory in content. I've actually grown a little tired of the news, but I find the commentary more of an interesting read--the Chinese views as well as foreign. The problem is, I don't seem to agree with the majority on either side.

There are a lot of Chinese Internet users posting about how the government should use extreme force (note: I have not read posts in Chinese; these were posts from English sites). There are also a lot of foreigners demanding a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in a few months.

Obviously, I don't agree with those who think a show of force would be necessary (anyone remember 1989?). I also don't agree with an Olympic boycott. The event is not intended to be political, it just happens to be a venue for people to get noticed more easily. No matter what we think about the Chinese government, a boycott of the games by other countries really would not do much aside from anger sports fans and athletes who want the best competition.

However, I see nothing wrong with people holding their own boycotts if they see it as suitable for the situation. There is nothing wrong with people changing their summer travel plans because of what they deem inappropriate.

As I would like to travel to the west of China again (Xinjiang and Tibet), I hope some form of peaceful resolution can occur soon. The longer this situation gets drawn out, the more it will resemble race riots in American cities from about 40 years ago.

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