Beijing Olympics : Should they be boycotted? Essay
Beijing Olympics : Should they be boycotted?
China have great athletes, many of the worlds best. At the last Olympics in Athens China came second place in the medal tally, behind the USA. China is also a very culturally rich country with long standing traditions and cultures that attract millions of visitors from around the world each year. So with a great mixture of sporting and cultural heritage… is China not the perfect host for the 2008 Olympic Games?
Some people think they shouldn’t. Two Olympics have been boycotted in recent years. In 1980 the Olympics in Moscow, Russia when the USSR invaded Afghanistan… and at the 1984 games in Los Angeles, USA due to “differences in political opinions”.
From their violence in Tibet and Burma to their prolific use of the death penalty… from their infamous air pollution to their religious persecution. These are just a few of the arguments that are being put against China hosting the games. As always though, it is a balanced argument – Many people think a boycott of the Olympics is in order, while many people think this is an unnecessary action altogether.
In this essay I will be discussing the arguments for and against a boycott of the Olympic Games which are to be held in Beijing, China this summer.
First of all, I will start with the points for China hosting the games and against a boycott.
They have invested huge amounts of money into this Olympic Games, so financial trouble would be felt in China… and if China are in financial trouble, the whole world will feel the effects. This is because China’s economy is one of the worlds biggest and without it buying or selling products, the effects would be felt around the whole world.
Another huge argument against a boycott is this. After all, the whole world did promise China the Olympics. Each country had the chance to vote for the other contenders bidding to hold the 2008 Olympics (Paris, Toronto, Osaka, and Istanbul). Why promise China the Olympics if you don’t want them to hold it after all.
The main argument against the boycott, is the fact the Olympics is a great sporting event – the greatest sporting competition in the world. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics. As I have said before China have most of what you would look for in the perfect Olympic Game holder.
They have world beating athletes, amazing facilities, they have experience in holding mass events due to their huge population, and Beijing is also a disable friendly city – so now more disabled people than ever can enjoy the Olympics.
Another huge factor nowadays with anything is; How eco-friendly is it? You use the term economically friendly when talking about factories, cars, trains, and many other things – but now we can use it to talk about the Olympic Games. In terms of being kind to the environment, the Beijing Olympics is up there with the best, if not the best. Two arenas, the “Birds Nest” and “The Water Cube” catch and recycle rain water and solar energy is being used to heat the water and produce some of the energy used for lighting the massive athlete’s village. There are even plans to build new Chinese Eco-Cities, which will be carbon neutral.
One of the other main arguments against boycotting the Beijing Olympics is people argue that the Olympics is a sporting event and should not be influenced by politics. Many people also argue that boycotting will just make the situation worse, as China are likely to re-act negatively. By just going to the Olympics and competing some people think that it will create greater political openness. This is what happened with the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. You can already see more political openness coming through.
The human rights in China are improving slowly and some political prisoners have already been freed and China is becoming more open to advice from countries such as Britain who are giving advice on how to improve China’s justice system. They have also loosened the normally tight restriction on foreign journalists… you can see this by just watching the Olympics on television, they are hundreds of journalists out in China helping to broadcast the Olympics.
Yet another argument against the boycott of the Olympics is that many of the countries that are criticizing China are no better themselves. Take America for example, they criticize China but don’t exactly have the best human rights record themselves. Some people seem to forget about their endless killing of innocent women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan and places like Guantanamo Bay and the infamous death row.
By now you are probably thinking that China is a good all round host for the Olympics but as in every argument there are fors and againsts. By the end of this essay I hope to present the reader with a balanced view so they can make their own minds up on whether China should have held the Olympics.
Now I will talk about the arguments against China holding the Olympics and for a boycott.
The main reason why so many people wished to boycott the Olympics is because of their involvement in fighting in other countries and their bad human rights record.
Most adults will remember the horror in Tiananmen Square where more than 10,000 students gathered in the famous square in Beijing to protest for reform in the structure of the government. This lead to the military being ordered to come in and “break up the protest”. The number of dead and injured will never be known for sure but a likely figure would be 1,000-2,000 dead. Some reports even as high as 3,000 deaths.
Above – A famous image known as the “Unknown Rebel”.
As you can gather from this one incident the Chinese are not the kind of people who take criticism or any sort of nonsense. At the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing two Britons were arrested for unravelling banners outside the Birds Nest stadium saying “Free Tibet” and “One World: One Dream. Free Tibet” to protest against the Chinese invasion and religious persecution in Tibet.
The Chinese are also involved in other countries. China buys two thirds of Sudan’s oil and 70% of the oil revenue earned by Sudan goes straight to the military. China also sells arms and aircraft to Sudan… by doing this they are breaking the arms embargo put in place by the UN. Also, since China have a seat on the security council they stop any action against Sudan by disagreeing against action. China act as a shield for Sudan.
China are also involved in a small country called Myanmar (commonly known as Burma). They supply the brutal regime there with military and financial support. This support is fueling violence for years to come for the poor residents of Burma and Sudan.
Only a few months ago this ship was sent from Beijing to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe… home of the infamous Robert Mugabe regime. Onboard were over 77 tonnes of weapons ranging from mortars to 3.5 million rounds for AK-47’s and other light guns. It was temporarily stopped in Durban, South Africa but the South Africans could do nothing about it and had to let the ship pass through. The head of government information said afterwards – “We are not in a position to act unilaterally and interfere in a trade deal between two countries”. However the South African port disagreed to unload the ship, but unfortunately it later unloaded in a port in Angola.
As you can see China are involved in many countries, but not in a good way. They are fueling violence and war and making the situation a lot worse.
A smaller but yet as highly controversial reason why many people want to boycott the games is due to the infamous Beijing smog.
You can see in the right hand side of the picture the massive problem Beijing has… smog.
There is a huge problem in Beijing city to do with polluted air. If you watched the Olympics there was constant talk about the smog and testing of the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels by news stations like the BBC. Their test results showed the C02 levels in Beijing to be well over the recommended levels for a developed country. Having this smog is thought by some to have consequences on peoples health, and therefore the athletes competing are at risk. A study by the “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” shows athletes playing or competing in polluted air show signs of affected performance. For example, a test done on female hockey players back in 2004 showed that from the pollutants emitted by the ice-resurfacing machine made a lot of the athletes pick up a “small airway dysfunction”.
There are still more arguments against China hosting the Olympics… for example, the builders of the spectacular stadiums and arenas are on very low wages. Millions of workers brought in from rural villages work for very low wages and are not covered by the protection of the Chinese Labour Laws. These people, ranging from age 14 to 50’s, are called in from the countryside and get on average only $200 per month. They also live on site and work very long hours. Around 90% of the Chinese construction are these migrant workers “imported” from the rural areas of China.
Aswell as all these points against China holding the Olympic Games there are still more. From forced abortion due to the infamous “one-child policy” where every couple in China are only allowed to have one child… to their religious persecution.
So… the big question! Should the Olympic Games have been boycotted?
This decision is up to you…
I hope I presented you with a balanced essay with the points for and against China holding the Olympics. I cannot make your mind up on whether or not you think people or countries should have boycotted the Olympic Games.
There are points against the boycott and for China hosting the Olympics. The Olympics are purely meant to be a sporting event, not a political contest of differing beliefs. China has also invested huge amounts of money into these games, they were the most expensive Olympics of all time. After all, we did vote for Beijing to host the Olympics… why go back on our promise? Another point against the boycott… they have great experience in holding mass events due to their huge population. They have also done well to make most of the facilities eco-friendly in one way or another… from recycling rain water to powering the Olympic village by solar power. Beijing is also a disabled friendly city, so now all can enjoy the excitement of the Olympics.
There are also points for the boycott. From China’s infamous involvement in other countries like Burma, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. They also have terrible air pollution… the famous Beijing smog. The labourers building all these fantastic facilities are working on very low wages, and have to put up with bad conditions. There is also the mass displacement of people to make way for the Olympics. People have been forced to move homes and go somewhere else. This and there terrible human rights record made some people consider a boycott.
In my opinion I think the Olympic Games in China were right to go ahead… and I am glad no one boycotted. I can see why some people might want to boycott… with China’s involvement in funding wars and there bad human rights record. However, I do believe strongly that the Olympics is purely a show of the best sports men and women on the planet, and politics should not be dragged into it. By watching the Olympic games you can see China’s experience in hosting mass events and the Olympics is really going well. The opening ceremony was spectacular and the Beijing Olympics is really a great success story so far.
Hopefully the Olympics being held in China will hopefully open up this complicated country to the rest of the world.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 July 2017
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