Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Opposing view: Wrong then, wrong now

U.S. shouldn’t participate in Games hosted by abuser of human rights.

By Dana Rohrabacher

USA Today: In 1936, the world made the mistake of providing Adolf 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 ancient Greek Olympics, the Games have represented the noblest elements of humanity. That cannot be said of the communist Chinese regime in Beijing. The Olympic torch is supposed to be a beacon of light shining upon mankind's higher aspirations, and it is a travesty to have it hosted by the world's worst human rights abuser.

In 2000, China pledged to improve its human rights and promote political progress during its efforts to host the Olympics. But, according to Amnesty International, China is responsible for more than 80% of all executions documented in the world and holds thousands of political prisoners without charge or trial.

The communist Chinese regime regularly denies freedom of conscience, expression, religion and association. It is said to engage in the harvesting of human organs without consent on live prisoners, especially Falun Gong practitioners and Christians. The recent crackdown on peaceful protests in illegally occupied Tibet and ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims are just a few examples of the Chinese regime's heavy-handed tyranny.

China continues to assist Sudan, Burma and North Korea in abuses against their citizens. It is morally irresponsible for the United States to hide behind economic progress as an excuse for turning a blind eye.

Beijing's propaganda machine is working to present a squeaky clean image while forcibly removing millions of citizens from their homes and rounding up the destitute under the auspices of its Olympic slogan, "One World. One Dream." Its actions raise the question: Whose world and whose dream?

To participate in these Games and stand idly by in the face of such atrocities would be contradictory to our commitment to democracy worldwide.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California is the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight. He has sponsored a resolution calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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