Someone remind me why we’re going to such lengths to be chummy with Red China, again? Is it because we fear their billion-man, technologically limp, under-equipped, maybe scary someday but not right now army? Are we as a nation enthralled, like the olden courts of Europe were with foods cooked in New World spices, with consumer goods whose special ingredient is lead? Are we unsatisfied with only having one continent-sized hole in the ozone layer, and we want to do whatever is necessary to help China burn a second one of those bastards in there?
Compelling as those reasons might be, I’ve yet to come across anything about China that makes the light inside my head go on and makes me say “Now these are the kinds of people I want to snuggle up to.” And that’s before I even get to the part about China propping up the genocidal Sudanese government with weapons and aid, or mowing down endangered animals everywhere.
But their latest trick is just as galling as whatever else is inside their insidious bag of them, considering how many people are watching – watching plausibly live, apparently. The Chinese government, in a move that passed with scant international comment, has banned live Olympic coverage from Tiananmen Square. Fearful of protesters seeking to draw attention to the martial crackdown in Tibet, or hell, protesters seeking to draw attention to any given one item on China’s laundry list of human rights/ecological/diplomatic abuses, the Chinese will not allow any live shots from the famous square lest their Big Brotherish stage managing of their big coming out party be ruined with an inconvenient appeal to the conscience.
I don’t care how significant our commercial interests in China are, I would really like to know how our elected and our appointed officials can continue to look the other way on what can only be termed insidious and Orwellian policy on the part of the Chinese. It’s bad enough that the country exercises draconian controls over the flow of information to its own citizens, but it is utterly despicable that the rest of the civilized world has gone willingly into the dark along with the Chinese people, voluntarily blind to the consequences of their support of a country whose policies and actions are completely at odds with what I thought was the character of the West.
World governments obviously cannot be counted on to do the right thing here, so this is an open plea to the athletes – there is no bigger stage for an individual than the medal stand after you win gold. So while your national anthem is playing, your flag is flying, and your medal is gleaming, please, use it. Have the courage your sponsoring government does not.