When the IOC awarded the Olympics to China (over Toronto) did no one see the dangers in that decision?
Surely it could have been foreseen that the human rights issue in China itself and the inhumanity in Tibet would both be raised in the Olympic context. What probably no one foresaw was the cruel crackdown of the Tibetans by the Chinese army.
And so we have the mini-riots in London and Paris (and tomorrow in San Francisco) along the parade route of the Olympic torch.
At the time the Olympics were awarded to Bejing, it was said this would result in more openess in China and more harmony between China and the West. The exact opposite has happened. China has reacted with anger and censorship of the offending pictures of the disrupted torch parade. Prime Minister Harper has announced he will not attend the Bejing opening ceremonies. Senator Clinton as asked President Bush not to go either. The Olympics are supposed to be about sport. But in 2008 they are about politics.
There is one silver lining on this dark cloud. Up to now the plight of Tibet has never been treated with enough urgency to give pause to China. The reaction of Tibetans, even the melees around the torch, are pretty mild compared to the Chinese regime which in recent moths has opened fire on civilian protesters, beaten monks and denied due process to more than 1,000 detainees.
Tibetans now have a narrow window in which to present their case for more autonomy to the world. At the very least Chinese authorities should sit down and dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
Was it a mistake to give the Olympics to China?
Where do we go from here?