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USA TODAY: "Wrong Then, Wrong Now"

Apr 7, 2008
Ideas and Opinions

Washington, Apr 7, 2008 - In 1936, the world made the mistake of providing Hitler with a global platform to showcase his fascist propaganda by participating in the Olympics hosted by Nazi Germany. It was wrong to support the Olympic venue then and it’s wrong for the United States to support this prestigious event being held in a similarly fascist regime in 2008.

Since the days of the ancient Greek Olympics, the games have represented the noblest elements of humanity. That cannot be said of the murderous Communist Chinese regime in Beijing. The Olympic torch is supposed to be a beacon of light shining upon mankind’s higher aspirations in the world and it is a travesty to have that torch hosted by a regime that is the world’s worst human rights abuser.

China pledged to improve its human rights record and promote political progress during their lobbying efforts to host the Olympics in 2000. However, according to Amnesty International, China is responsible for over 80 percent of all executions documented in the world and continually holds thousands of political prisoners without charge or trial because political opposition is strictly prohibited. The government also continues to enforce the “One Child” policy per family, oftentimes leading to forced abortions and sterilizations.

The Communist Chinese regime regularly denies the right to freedom of conscience, expression, religion and association and engages in the horrific practice of human organ harvesting without consent on live prisoners, especially Falun Gong practitioners and Christians. The recent violent crackdown on the peaceful protests in illegally occupied Tibet and the ethnic cleansing of the Uygar Moslems in East Turkistan are just a few examples of the unacceptably heavy-handed tyranny inflicted by the Chinese regime.

China continues to assist Sudan, Burma and N. Korea in committing horrific human rights abuses against their citizens. Whether its China’s financial support of the corrupt government in Sudan, to the billion dollar arms sales to the narco-dictatorship in Burma or its refusal to take in famine ridden and politically repressed refugees from North Korea, it is morally irresponsible for the United States to hide behind economic progress as an excuse for turning a blind eye to the evils perpetrated by the Chinese regime. Let us not forget, Hitler duped the world with claims of great economic advances also in 1936.

Beijing’s propaganda machine is working overtime to present a squeaky clean image in preparation for the games while forcibly removing millions of citizens from their homes and rounding up the destitute under the auspices of its official Olympic slogan, “One World. One Dream.” Beijing’s actions beg the question of whose world and whose dream?
On September 6, 2007, President Bush said the following in response to Chinese President Hu Jintao’s personal invitation to attend the Beijing Olympics, “ Once again he extended an invitation to me and Laura and our family to come to the Olympics. And of course, I was anxious to accept.”

On the same day, Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Jeffrey told reporters the President “was going to the Olympics for the sports and not for any political statement.”

It’s hard to fathom President Roosevelt responding to an Adolf Hitler invitation to join him in 1936 as “anxious.”

President Bush’s presence in the Communist Party’s skybox during the Opening Ceremonies is certainly contradictory to his so-called commitment to democracy in the Middle East or his emotional expression of concern over the genocide in the Sudan. It may be too much to expect President Bush to whisper in the ear of the Communist Party elite the please of the Chinese citizens who are continually persecuted and imprisoned because of their inability to freely express religious or political beliefs.

To participate in these games and stand idly by in the face of such atrocities would be a great sin of omission. The President should not travel to the world’s worst human rights abuser to enjoy a sporting event.