Boycott China..08-08-2008....CHINA-NAZI


Chinese 'spy' arrests by U.S. fuels Olympics row after Spielberg's call for boycott

Jewish and Israeli athletes have a responsibility to help ensure that the world does not make the same mistake.


In the summer of 1936, a year after the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws, the world turned a blind eye to Nazi Germany’s genocidal intentions as Hitler hosted the Olympics in Berlin. With next summer’s games set to take place in Beijing.

This time the Jews are not the victims. Rather, China’s victims are the 1.2 million Tibetans who have died as a result of Beijing’s invasion of the previously independent Buddhist nation. They are the untold thousands of dissidents and prisoners of conscience who will be kept out of view in modern-day gulags while the world’s attention is focused on the action inside Beijing’s ultra-modern sporting arenas. They are the 200,000 or more Darfuris who reportedly have been killed as a result of the genocidal campaign waged by the Beijing-backed Sudanese regime.


China’s state oil company owns the largest stake in the consortium that is developing Sudan’s petroleum industry, and China buys about four-fifths of all Sudanese oil exports. An estimated 70 percent of the oil profits in Sudan are spent on a military that lays waste to Darfuri villages.

To stand by idly while the blood of others is shed would be un-Jewish.

One Jewish luminary who isn’t staying silent is Steven Spielberg, who has threatened to resign as artistic adviser to the games unless China changes course in Darfur. His demand, he explained in a letter to Chinese leader Hu Jintao, stems from his “personal commitment to do all I can to oppose genocide.”

Unfortunately, other Jewish leaders don’t seem to share that commitment. The president of the Israeli Olympic Committee, Zvi Varshaviak, said last month that in light of its experience, Israel “will continue to act towards keeping politics outside of sport in general and the Olympic Games specifically.”

Would Varshaviak also have remained silent in light of the Jewish experience at Berlin?

We are not proposing a boycott. Olympic boycotts have been tried before — Israel, the United States and five dozen other countries stayed away from the 1980 Moscow Games to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. But this time a boycott might shift attention away from Beijing when the goal instead should be to cast a spotlight squarely on China — on its human rights abuses and its support for genocide.

Indeed, human rights activists across the globe have teamed up to brand Beijing 2008 “the Genocide Olympics.” The Genocide Olympics campaign is a “nightmare” for the Chinese hosts and their corporate sponsors, according to BusinessWeek magazine. But that nightmare pales in comparison to the daily nightmare of Darfuris, Tibetans and the democracy activists in Chinese prisons.

If the numbers from 2004 are any guide, more than 60 Jewish athletes — about half from Israel — will participate a year from now in the Beijing Games. They can play an important role in the Genocide Olympics effort.

Regardless of whether they are dressed in the blue-and-white uniform of Israel, the blue and red of the U.S, or the blue and yellow of Australia, they can wear the green wristbands that have become the symbol of the Save Darfur movement worldwide. When television cameras zoom in on Jewish athletes, the green bands will be a reminder of the ruthlessness of the Beijing regime. And the bands will be a powerful sign that on the most important human rights issues facing the world today, Jews will not remain on the sidelines.

When Jewish sports stars take their place among athletes from the 200-plus nations at the Games, they should also join ranks with the activists who have signed on to the Olympic Dream for Darfur Campaign — a list that includes Ira Newble of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, Ruth Messinger of the American Jewish World Service and the actress Mia Farrow.

Organizers of the campaign recently lit an alternative Olympic torch near the Chad-Darfur border and are carrying it to locations of past mass murders across the world — including a Holocaust site in Germany — en route to its final destination in China.

Seventy-two years after Berlin, Jewish athletes from Israel and around the world will have the opportunity to speak out for justice in the same circumstances under which other nations were all too willing to stay silent. If Jewish athletes take the lead, next year’s Olympic flame will shed light on the bloodshed that Beijing has carried on in darkness.


Peter Ganong is an intern at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and a third-year economics student at Harvard, where he has advocated for Darfur on campus. Daniel Hemel is a first-year international relations student at Oxford.

Chinese 'spy' arrests by U.S. fuels Olympics row after Spielberg's call for boycott

Boycott: Steven Spielberg quit his Beijing job

The row over China's staging of the Olympics threatened to turn into a full-scale diplomatic crisis today.

Beijing urged America to stop its "Cold War thinking" in a statement that followed the arrest by the US of four Chinese men suspected of spying on American military and space programmes.

It accused U.S. critics of "ulterior motives".

Calls for a boycott of the Games were triggered when Hollywood director Steven Spielberg announced he was quitting as an adviser to the Games over China's refusal to punish Sudan for mass killings in Darfur.

But in its first response to fresh criticism of its policies on the genocide in Darfur, Beijing broke its silence to declare the Olympics would go ahead as planned and be a "great success".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was inundated with questions about the boycott at a news conference today.

He said: "It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government policy on Darfur but I am afraid that some people may have ulterior motives, and this we cannot accept."

The Chinese embassy in Washington also said that it was "irresponsible and unfair" to link the Olympics to foreign policy issues while a state newspaper went further and said that it was a "clumsy trick" to link sport to politics.

China, which has lucrative oil contracts with Sudan, has blocked UN attempts to stop the murders of women and children in the east African region.

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Heavy smog in Beijing

Row: Beijing urged the U.S. to stop its 'Coldwar thinking' ahead of Olypmics this summer

Some 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes in more than four years of conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur, according to estimates by international experts.

But Jin Canrong, an international relations expert at the People's University of China in Beijing, said: "Whoever uses this humanitarian issue to criticise China and put pressure on China gains something of a halo.

"The West has seized on China's tremendous emphasis on the Olympic Games to criticise China."

And Beijing's Olympic organising committee said the government was making "unremitting effortsî to resolve the Darfur crisis.

"Linking the Darfur issue to the Olympic Games will not help to resolve this issue and is not in line with the Olympic spirit that separates sports from politics," the committee said in a statement.

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Darfur crisis

Darfur crisis: China has stopped the UN stepping in to halt the genocide in the Sudan

The Chinese embassy in Washington said: "As the Darfur issue is neither an internal issue of China, nor is it caused by China, it is completely unfair for certain organisations and individuals to link the two as one," the embassy said.

A string of Nobel Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, today published a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao, calling on him to stop the tragedy of Darfur.

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell stepped into the row for the first time, declaring that it was "a great pity".

She said that while there were "wholly unacceptable" aspects to Chinese foreign policy, the world had known for the last seven years that Beijing would host the Olympics.

She said: "Most progressive governments accept that there are wholly unacceptable aspects of Chinese policy but that did not stop the International Olympics Committee (IOC) awarding them the Games.

"A call for a boycott doesn't serve any purpose and it would be a great pity. This doesn't mean, however, we should be distracted from the urgency of Darfur."

In a separate embarassment to the Chinese, the British Olympic Association has decided to allow athletes to wear anti-pollution masks.

The US has decided not to "offendî its hosts by allowing such masks, but the BOA says it was to give a "competitive advantageî to British medal hopefuls.

Beijing is often choked by smog and certain events may have to be postponed if levels become too high.

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