Do you want your leader to go to the Olympics?

If yes, why? If no, what would China have to do to change your mind? Gordon Brown says he’s not going to the opening ceremony, but it’s not a boycott. Hillary Clinton says George Bush shouldn’t either and it would be a boycott. What should your leader do?

195 Responses to “Do you want your leader to go to the Olympics?”

  1. 1 Andrew Stamford
    April 10, 2008 at 13:49

    Australia, despite years of jibes at former PM John Howard, now has a Sinophile in new PM Kevin Rudd who seems to be falling over himself to not only impress the Chinese (so he can speak Mandarin) but is ultra keen to express his fondness for this regime. Despite a few recent words of chastisement over human rights in Tibet, a combination of a free trip for the new kid on the block and his unashamed boot licking (nothing else to call it) of China will see that he is front row centre in Beijing this August. I doubt anything the Australian public desire in this matter will make the slightest difference.

  2. April 10, 2008 at 14:01

    According to reports in British Press Gordon Brown was never planning on attending the olympic opening games, but as ever he sat on the fence to long before making a descision. Hence why he did not touch the olympic torch when it passed infront of number 10.

    I don’t think him not being at the opening ceremony will have any impact on the olympic games nor on china’s human rights policy. The chinese government will be upset but since state tv will be unlikely to publicise the fact that Brown isn’t going, the chinese people are unlikely to notice they fact that he is not present.

  3. 3 Brett
    April 10, 2008 at 14:04

    I’d rather my sorry excuse for a leader stay home. He embarrasses me and my country from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed. Maybe if he just sleeps through the Olympics, that’d be for the best.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  4. 4 Gretchen Eldrich
    April 10, 2008 at 14:05

    George Bush should not go, but then again he should not do a lot of things and that hasn’t stopped him for 7 miserable years, so I fully expect him to attend, to show his support for fellow leaders with little regard for those they lead.

    It wouldn’t be a boycott if he didn’t attend, since in my mind a boycott would be, our athletes stay home.

  5. 5 Sean in Beijing
    April 10, 2008 at 14:07

    If the Olympics are truly nonpolitical, I don’t see why leadership should feel obliged to attend.

    Personally speaking I hope there are no North American Representatives at the Opening Ceremony. Athletes should be welcome to compete if they want, but leadership should not be expected.

    Besides the Chinese have a very low opinion of American leadership anyhow. Will he not be bringing more protesters with him??

  6. April 10, 2008 at 14:12

    Yes, I would like my President George W. Bush to go to the Olympics and not listen to any calls asking him not especially the calls coming from the Democrats and the left.
    Olympics is a sport event and should not be mixed with politics, protesters and demonstrators will protest any country and find every thing wrong they can do with the countries hosting the olympics.
    These athelets work hard for this event, let’s not ruin it for them.

  7. 7 George USA
    April 10, 2008 at 14:14

    What is the protocol regarding Presidents attending the Olympics?

    They did not attend in the past did they?

    I am asking because whatever the details of diplomatic protocol is where the options for President Bush and others to chose from.

    China’s leaders do need to modify their behavior to function smoothly in the world.

    How that behavior change, learning curve, takes place is the question to me.

  8. 8 Nick
    April 10, 2008 at 14:15

    Well, I can think of one reason why President Bush shouldn’t go. It’s a little something called the war in Iraq. With people losing their lives every day, I think he has more important things to do than go watch some guy doing triple jumps.

    As far as not attending for political reasons, of course he shouldn’t go. I lived in china for most of 2006, and their leadership needs to be taken down a notch. The whole world needs to send them a message, instead of pretending nothing is wrong and buying too many of their inferior products at Wal-Mart.

  9. 9 selena
    April 10, 2008 at 14:17

    It really doesn’t matter to me whether the leader attends or not. Leaders always do what is politically expedient.

    What matters to me is how much energy is being expended in this issue. Is anyone starving in Tibet?

    We know there are people starving all over the world. Where are the protesters? Is anyone protesting for the hungry Palestinians, for instance? What about Haiti? What about Zimbabwe? And the list goes on…

  10. 10 John in Salem
    April 10, 2008 at 14:27

    The only reason I would want George Bush to go to the Olympics is if it meant that he wouldn’t come back.

  11. April 10, 2008 at 14:28

    I strongly oppose our leaders go to china and attend Olympics.
    As for as my arguments in this connection is concerned i would like to advance that human rights has been abused and being abused there.

    Bejinig authority put all appeals aside made by world leaders and subjecting tibetan people especialy monks tortur and arresting them without any criminal ground.

    There is no social justice but a party called communist party of china its leadership has unleashed powers.
    prosecution,courts,justice and executive action all are its slaves.

    As a trailer,you can see present condition of Tibetan people,life has made a horrible dream for them.they are harrassing,arresting,torturing and instigating gainst Dali Lama exiled since long.

    What Tibetan people demanding?
    autonomy,human rights,and freedom in paying spiritiual rites that are included basic human rights.

    There is no ban on such rights in the world countries.

    So we dislike that our leaders go to such country which has no good name in chapter of human rights’s history.

  12. April 10, 2008 at 14:28

    I do not want President Bush to go to Beijing, but I do not want the athletes to boycott the games. This seems like a good compromise, with the athletes not being stripped from their chance in competing, but my government not condoning the atrocities committed by the Chinese government.

  13. April 10, 2008 at 14:28

    For people who are commenting on George W. Bush, they don’t know that George W. Bush is one of the greatest Presidents. I am very proud that he is My president and wish that he can run for another four years.! China would be honored to have him there.

  14. 14 VictorK
    April 10, 2008 at 14:37

    If there’s any truth to the claim that sport and politics shouldn’t be mixed (except, it seems, in the cases of Rhodesia and South Africa) then why should political leaders be at the olympics at all?

    At the most they should send their Ministers of Sport/Culture. But people like President Bush and Gordon Brown should have better things to do with their time than hang around at sporting ceremonies.

    I don’t expect Gordon Brown to be at either the opening or closing ceremonies. I do, though, enjoy the spectacle he’s made of himself by his inability to show decisiveness or principled leadership when it comes to settling in what he’ll do. China should never have been given the Olympics. Now it has the games it should be allowed to get on with it. Sport and government politics really shouldn’t mix (though there’s nothing wrong with civilian protest).

    The Olympics is not the appropriate forum for governments to bring pressure to bear on China over Tibet, though ordinary members of the public have done an excellent job in humiliating the Beijing dictatorship.

  15. 15 lydia nayo
    April 10, 2008 at 14:39

    I am yet another commentor on GWB, another one who does not value him as a leader. However, the Olympics ought to be about the athletes who’ve trained and sacrificed so much to present themselves and make a showing at an event that is either do or die for them. We all have to remember that four years is a long time in athletics. For many, this opportunity will not come around again. The world should let the Olympics happen, even in China. And that world leaders, including the mushmouthed GWB, should appear, to honor the athletes. Make a public statement about China’s misconduct on the world stage, either there or on some other basis, protest if need be, (and it needs be!) but give these athletes their due.

  16. 16 Muthee Mwangi
    April 10, 2008 at 14:48

    Hi Ros and the rest of the team,

    Let us get one fact straight before we even start tackling the topic. The Olympics is not a political event and those who are taking advantage of the fact that they are to be held in china to make cheap political swipes at China should just stop.
    Having said that, i really do not care whether my president (Kenya) attends the opening or the closing ceremony as long as Kenyan runners do what they do best, win medals.
    Why should Nicholas Sarkozy, the man who started all this talk about boycotting the opening ceremony think that his presence would be missed if he skipped it. Like i said earlier, world leaders should focus on solving issues that have bombarded our planet like climate change, rising food prices, collapsing economic norms rather than trying to force everyone else to adapt to their mode of governance style, by spoiling the party for those of us who need a breather from the political and socio-economic madness afflicting the world.
    Muthee in Nairobi.

  17. 17 Nick
    April 10, 2008 at 14:50

    The title of this post is “Do you want your leader to go to the olympics”. Not “George Bush”, so save your George Bush arguments for another time.

  18. April 10, 2008 at 14:54

    no, i do not want any world leader to go to Beijing unless the chinese communist party (ccg) agrees to a)hold meaningful talks with the dali lahma about tibetan autonomy, b) allow complete freedom of the press and internet, c) releases all human rights activists, like Lu Gengsong, and d) allow full freedom of religion. if the ccg honors its promises made to the ioc and the world, then world leaders should go. otherwise the world shames itself by standing quietly by, while the ccg continues its tryanny by ignoring basic human rights.

  19. April 10, 2008 at 14:58

    Yes, all leaders should go to the Olympics and if possible take their Foreign Secretaries wth them to see at first hand the Chinese Goverment’s handling and behaveior during the games. It may help in some way to cause China to moderate her ruthless ways in dealing with problems which may arise.

  20. 20 Ros Atkins
    April 10, 2008 at 15:06

    Yes, but only if he stays there. I think he would do well because he has an extensive knowledge of other languages and cultures which is why we are getting along so well in the international community. As an added plus he has a business degree so he can share that vast knowledge base with the developing Chinese economy. It’s a win-win.
    Greg in the States

  21. 21 Ros Atkins
    April 10, 2008 at 15:06

    The period between now and the begining of the olympics should be the time for the protestors to make their point. Once the games are underways we should all participate to make it a success. Boycotting it wil permanently harm the olympic spirit.
    Kwabena in Ghana

  22. 22 Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako, London
    April 10, 2008 at 15:18

    I do not want my President, John Kufour of Ghana, to go to the Olympics. The Olympics should be as much about freedom, peace and friendship as they are about medals, money and prestige. If China will not use its leverage over the Sudanese government to bring peace and freedom to the people of Darfur, and if they will not allow the people of Tibet to enjoy freedom and peace, then I don’t see why my president should go to China for the Olympics. China does not seem to care about freedom, peace and friendship as much as they care about their economy, power and prestige.

  23. April 10, 2008 at 15:20

    I really couldn’t careless if our president is going. He can go as Harry Potter he truly looks like it tho. (seen the previous topic: looks of the politician).

    As mentioned many times in the previous post that the Olympics isn’t a event that should be about politics, I agree. But sadly the current situation has made it into a political debate.

    Our crown prince, as you know the Netherlands is a monarchy. Is special member of the IOC. I am really curious if our royal highness is going to attend the opening. Many votes are up for a boycott by both our president and prince. Not only from the citizens of Holland but as well from other politicians and mostly from our foreign minister.

    But I don’t really see China will bend. What I am really not hoping for is that the situation will get out of hand and countries will sent their peace army, NATO or whatever political pressure instrument in form of living beings.
    BTW lmao about the comments on Bush.

  24. 24 CarlosK
    April 10, 2008 at 15:29

    Hi WHYS

    Firstly, some including myself take offence at the use of the word LEADER to describe heads of state. Please note there are some of us who don’t follow immoral, indecent, corrupt, wicked, unsympathetic, unkind, dissolute, degenerate and deprave human beings designated as heads of state. If they adopt the principles of unselfishness examplified by our Lord and Saviour Jeus Christ them we will happily follow them and acknowledge them as our leader but there is not one in a hundred of the present crop and especially George W. Bush who can be honestly described as a LEADER.

    Secondly, I cannot fathom the reason why the bar is being raised so HIGH for China. Have we forgotten that rogue states such as Germany and Russia have hosted the Olympics in the past? Is there now a new benchmark set for morality? What is it? I am sure no country of the world especially those in the West including the once mighty USA, Germany, UK, France etc. have reach the required standard. Is there an element of racism surfacing here?

    Thirdly, I can see no reason why any head of state except that of the host country China needs to attend the Olympics. Are the Olympics indeed the benchmark that a country has “arrived”? Are these Olympics indeed a demonstration of China’s greatness? Are the athletes really pawns, a side show and the real motive is to herald or showcase China’s arrival?

    Politics and Sports should never be allow to mix unless we are now acknowledging publicly that fairplay has died out of sports as it did many centuries ago out of politics?

    The IOC officials for each country can adequately represent the participating states. There is and has never been any need for heads of state to attending the Olympics. The Olympics should rise above being seen as a gathering of the “old boys club”. If the head of states attend then we can be sure that the Olympics are a facade and the spirit of fairplay has indeed died out of the Olympics.

    Carlos, Kingston-Jamaica

  25. 25 Joanna, St. Louis, MO
    April 10, 2008 at 15:34

    I would love to see our president not go to the opening ceremony. However, we all need to remember how much we owe China. The fact of the matter is, if we piss them off they may just ask us to pay back all or some of the money we owe them. They could hold a grudge and make it difficult to work with them in the future. We already have enough problems in our economy as it is, adding a huge loan to pay back would crush us. Where do you really thing these tax rebates are going to come from?

    I think the Chinese are like a lot of Asian cultures, their pride is at stake here. I’d like to think they become so embarrassed at all of this that they take a good look at whether it’s really worth it to have this ongoing fued with the Tibetans. I mean, I think now it’s simply a matter of them being stubborn is it really worth looking like jerks to the entire world?

  26. 26 gary
    April 10, 2008 at 15:39

    Hello All,
    President Bush must go to China. Communication is the answer to the problem. Loud, violent protests and virulent polemic are obverse and reverse of the same coin: miscommunication. For all of your listeners who disagree: Once a voice is intelligible; increased volume does not aid communication.
    Find a Chinese friend. Ask them to help write a firm; but polite protest letter to the Chinese Embassy in your country. Ask your friends for help. Shouting jingoistic phrases and disrupting activities in which fellow citizens wish to participate has only negative consequences. If you must shout because it makes you feel better, do so in a large empty room. The echoing acoustics will enhance the vocal effects upon your ego.

  27. 27 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 10, 2008 at 15:48

    Hi everyone! 🙂

    Well, I agree with Kwabena completely: It’s not fair to boycot the games when some things can be solved in advance. The problem is that the Olympic games can be a smoke screen to hide many other problems that are affecting the world (not only in Tibet, but in other places, like in Iraq, where conflicts are more serious). Believe it or not, the Olympic games have always had political connotations in the modern era – which is not ok -, then it’s inevitable to make all this happens. Personally I consider that any president or leader should go there in order to avoid more complications…

    The situation with the games is becoming annoying… Unfortunately many sport people’s dream is in danger becuase of this situation, what is disappointing! They have been getting prepared for years, and even now even their security is in risk!

  28. 28 A.R.Shams
    April 10, 2008 at 15:52

    Many global country where political crisis prevails yet Olympic Games or such international sports and games are undertaken in their scheduled time and date, why not in China.

    Countries and their leaders that would boycott joining Olympic games means they are trying give a political color on it, whereas, it should not be like that.

    International sports and games are playing a vital role in keeping bind of friendship but some countries and their leaders on their vested interest raise negative impressions about such wonderful gatherings of the world people irrespective of their religion, race or color or whatever differences.

  29. 29 Mohammed Ali
    April 10, 2008 at 16:03

    Whether our leaders go to the olympics or not, one thing I am certain of is that the games will be a success. They like they can stay in their coccun and have fun with their families while the Olympics games go on.

  30. 30 Peter Gizzi UK
    April 10, 2008 at 16:18

    Frankly who cares if Gordon Brown goes or not? He never listens to the British Voter. A Government Department has forbidden THE RED ARROWS from appearing at The 2012 Olympics! They are said to be TOO BRITISH! They have given this country more representation throughout the world than any politicain!

    If he does go I hope he stays there.

  31. 31 Will Rhodes
    April 10, 2008 at 16:32

    Ministers of sport should attend – if any politicians at all. It is a sporting event!

  32. 32 Justin from Iowa
    April 10, 2008 at 16:49

    I frankly don’t care. Economics is the only tool which might sway China any one way or the other. And the US’s foreign prestige has taken enough of a hit I don’t know if George Bush going or not going would be a blip on anyone’s radar.

  33. 33 Anthony
    April 10, 2008 at 16:57

    Since I live in the USA, I don’t like “our leader” representing us anywhere. If I did like our president, I wouldn’t really care if he went or didn’t.

    -Anthony, LA, CA.

  34. 34 Mark, Denver, CO, USA
    April 10, 2008 at 17:16

    Hi Ros,
    I’d rather have my leaders stay away from the Olympics. We have disagreements with our government in the United States but the United States does not go in with strong-arm tactics to deal with the issue. If we are serious about wanting China to address it’s shortcomings with human rights then we should send a message — no matter how futile. As a buddhist, I respect the Dalai Lama and his wishes for a peaceful Olympic games. I too wish for the happiness of all human beings (even the people of the Chinese government). I cannot, however, pretend that there is nothing wrong with the Chinese government’s policy towards human rights and their disregard for Tibetan tradition and culture. I am greatly saddened by the problems in Tibet and I wish for a speedy and peaceful solution to this problem.

  35. April 10, 2008 at 17:27

    I think George aught to go and offer economic and military advised to the Chinese. If they take it, maybe we can get some of our jobs shipped back to the states. Give him some of the finest seats at the stadium and feed him lots of pretzels.

    For a couple of weeks now the Chinese Olympics have been a re-accruing topic. There is no point in discussing if the Olympics should be political, they are. In most of our lifetimes they have been. You are not waving your gymnastics club’s flag or playing the team song when a gold is won. They wave the country’s flag and play the national anthem.

    Would you play baseball, have a nice day in the park with a guy you knew was a rapist, child molester, or murder? Would you just say, “Tomorrow I will try to get the police to arrest him. Today is just about having a good time in the park.”? So why would you want your country to “play ball” with a country that is conducting these rights abuses? You are going to spend money in their economy, making the government stronger and indirectly contributing to the abuse you are opposed to. It’s like waging a war against people who you buy the gas for your tanks from

  36. 36 George USA
    April 10, 2008 at 17:36

    The USA might appoint a Tibet exile living in the USA to represent us.

    That would: A) send a message to the Chinese government and B) avoid Bush doing harm.

  37. April 10, 2008 at 17:37

    Has olympics become the front line for protests against human rights abuses?
    and what is your take on the olympics committee for allowing China to hold the games(having, definately, known China’s human rights record) ?
    what about other states that also have terrible human rights record
    kipsang Kerich in Bomet, Kenya

  38. 38 Justin from Iowa
    April 10, 2008 at 17:56

    Side note, I find it funny that even the BBC has been getting things wrong on this issue. Yesterday BBC radio spent 10 minutes describing why the prime minister had never intended to attend the opening ceremonies yet now because of the issue coming up with other countries, was being incorrectly percieved as “leading the boycott”

    Now today on the BBC radio they are talking about how the prime minister is leading the way on a boycott of the opening ceremonies.

    Methinks the right hand knoweth not what the left hand doeth 😛

  39. 39 Jack Beninble
    April 10, 2008 at 18:03

    I do not want George W. Bush to go to the Olympics both because China doesn’t merit the honor of being celebrated by world leaders, and also because if Bush goes abroad he is guaranteed to do something stupid and embarrasing for the United States.

  40. 40 simon
    April 10, 2008 at 18:05

    I don’t want bush to go to the Olympics: it is not, however, becuase I think America should boycott the games. It is because I don’t think that he is any sort of moral authority or a good american ambassador to the world.

  41. 41 viola anderson
    April 10, 2008 at 18:06

    There are other, more appropriate venues for countries to express disapproval of China’s human rights record, including the issue of Tibet. Attending a sporting event does not imply approval of any country’s human rights record so, yes, I see no reason why Stephen Harper should not attend the games if he wishes to do so.

  42. 42 Janet T
    April 10, 2008 at 18:10

    I’m tired of the Olympics being held hostage to politics. Leaders, go- don’t go, it does not matter. This is supposed to be about the athletes!

  43. 43 Aaron
    April 10, 2008 at 18:10

    I would love nothing more than to see a group of world leaders go to the opening cermemony — and decorate their skybox with Tibetan prayer flags.

    That would be a true statement of support for both the Olympic spirit and human rights.

    Aaron in Portland, Oregon

  44. 44 Justin from Iowa
    April 10, 2008 at 18:12

    In response to the comment that britain shouldn’t boycott the opening ceremonies because they will be hosting them in a few years….

    I give you a quote from Dean, a Chinese translator for one of the BBC specials that has been run in the last month:

    If everybody fears of losing freedom, losing property, no progress is to be made.

  45. 45 Thomas
    April 10, 2008 at 18:13

    In case you forgot what the meaning of the olympic games. Lets take a look at the meaning of the Olympic flag:

    …”The Olympic rings on the flag of the Olympic Games is the symbolism of the five different colored rings, all interlinked together. These five multicolored Olympic rings stand for the five continents where the athletes traveled from to take part in the sporting competitions of these Olympic events. The reason for the interlocking rings on the Olympic flag is symbolic in showing that the Olympic Games are intended for all nations to be able to come and compete against one another in unity.” *

    I would really like to see the leader of my country, George W. Bush, show his support for the people of all of the participating nations. It would be a shame if he did not go becuase of politics.

    Thomas, Los Angeles

  46. 46 Justin from Iowa
    April 10, 2008 at 18:14

    Also worthy of note: Tibet isn’t the only issue at hand here. Don’t let it drown out other issues.

  47. 47 Brett
    April 10, 2008 at 18:15

    I would say it is alright for Bush to attend, but only on two conditions.

    1) He can even point out China on a map

    2) He does not take it as an opportunity to give some stupid speach on ‘democracy’.

    Other than that, I think it is important for world leaders to attend and give the athletes their due respect and support.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  48. 48 Sue - Portland, OR
    April 10, 2008 at 18:17

    I don’t think President Bush should refuse to attend the Olympics. I think that is simply adding fuel to the fire.

    HOWEVER, I would like to see China acknowledge it’s desire and intention to make changes — even noting that such changes take time to process (thus saving face which is important to Asian people groups) and make a strong statement against the current acts of disruption along the route of the Olympic torch.

  49. 49 harp
    April 10, 2008 at 18:19

    Not only leaders, i would say everyone should go specially those who are against china’s policies.
    Go there and check it out what you been told and seen on TV is true.
    i been there its’ not that bad as it sounds on this side of the world.
    China has changed a lot and it is changing.

  50. 50 Justin from Iowa
    April 10, 2008 at 18:19

    You should NOT draw the line. China is in the spot light because they do it worse than many others. But everyone should be making their opinions known about every country. US, Britain, France, Sweden, China, Malaysia… whatever your location, you should be aware of your country’s human rights records and speak up about them!

  51. 51 Fuchsia
    April 10, 2008 at 18:20

    People are happy to accept cheap Chinese goods, but they criticise China! They should show their protest by not buying Chinese products!

    Dr Kumar in London, by telephone

  52. 52 Fuchsia
    April 10, 2008 at 18:21

    If the Olympics have nothing to with politics, perhaps political leaders should not attend.

    Bernard in Belgium, by telephone

  53. 53 Brett
    April 10, 2008 at 18:21

    I would also say that in regards to heads of state and leaders boycotting the Olympics, for the US President to do so would be THE LARGEST display of hypocrisy of any nation engaged in this current ‘snubbing’ contest.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  54. 54 Sia
    April 10, 2008 at 18:22


    I have been a bit bothered lately by the Olympics and the China Human Rights issues getting all muddled. The Human Rights issues are very serious indeed. Protests should be made. Boycotts should be made. Conferences should be held. The people should have freedom of speech and the country needs some serious change.

    The Olympics are the Olympics! China is China. They should be separate issues. The Olympics are something to be celebrated! The Olympics go so far back, and the athletes are preparing for them with all of their heart, body, mind. We must support them. The fact that the Olympics are being held in China seems to me to be simply another geographical location of the sports. I am assuming it is beautiful there, well suited for the Olympic games. Politics need to be kept out of this and the Athletes need to be supported and cheered on. Hooray for the athletes! Hooray for people who come together to support the Olympics, no matter what their culture, background or beliefs are!

    And what really peeves me are the protesters intercepting the Torch’s path! Make way for the torch! It should have nothing to do with China!


    Portland, Oregon, by email

  55. 55 Haas
    April 10, 2008 at 18:22

    I am listening to the radio conversation about whether our leaders should go to the Olympics or not. It was mentioned by some callers that we should not mix politics with sports. It’s important to mention that the Olympics are about people, athletes are people, fans are people, leaders are people, and so on so for, you get my point therefore politics, economics, and sports are all about people, so all the leaders should go and should raise the issue with the Chinese government of the people’s concerns be it the fans, the Chinese, the Tibetans…China needs to listen to the people’s voices.

  56. 56 Sia
    April 10, 2008 at 18:22


    I have thought about this issue a bit more and wanted to send another line of thought. Cheers!
    “The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

    “The Games have always brought people together in peace to respect universal moral principles. The upcoming Games will feature athletes from all over the world and help promote the upcoming Games will feature athletes from all over the world and help promote the Olympic spirit”

    These are statements from the official Olympic Games website.

    You could argue that we need to boycott the games in China in particular, as there is not, apparently, unity on moral issues (between the country of China and the Olympic organization.) But you could also argue that the Olympics themselves could be a unifying, human-rights-inspiring, peace-inspiring event. Personally, I rather think that the Olympics need to be celebrated and supported, no matter what country it is being held in. I would want my own president to go, simply to support his own American athletes! Then perhaps he could go back and hold a conference on Human Rights, at another time.

    portland, oregon

  57. 57 Serina
    April 10, 2008 at 18:23

    As a Chinese, though Singaporean, I am ashamed as a Chinese at how the Chinese regime – which no one elected to lead them – acts in regards to people under its rule. It does not give true freedoms or a free press or full human rights. That is what China would have to do for a start – address those issues. As for the spirit of the games, it was lost long ago. Why not boycott it, after all what are the games now other than an advertising opportunity of the highest magnitude. For athletes (many found to be on drugs) it is also only a chance for exposure to advertisers for future self-gain, they attend many meets during the year so the tearful aspirations for the games are little more than profiteering. The IOC has shown in the past they are just as bad and only out to protect their money spinning venture. This is not what Baron de Coubertin had envisaged.


  58. 58 Ian
    April 10, 2008 at 18:23

    What should World Leaders do… All World Leaders should not attend the Opening Ceremonies, including President Bush, and instead go to Tibet and see what is really going on there. All the Worlds Olympic Teams should also not attend the Opening Ceremonies. China has been using propaganda against their people and the Chinese people are not seeing what is going on around the world. The World should use propaganda against them. I would like to see how China broadcasts the Opening Ceremonies to their own people when no one will be there. We need to stop worrying about business interest and remember that people are more important. They only way for a difference to be made is for people, World Leaders and the Chinese People, is to recognize that there is a problem.

    Keep up the good work!

    Ian from Arizona

  59. 59 Tom
    April 10, 2008 at 18:24

    Bush will go, he has already demonstrated that he has absolutely no respect for human rights. Remember Bush has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi mothers, fathers, children, and babies and he has shown absolutely no regrets about it.

    Tom in Bend, Oregon, by email

  60. 60 bob daily
    April 10, 2008 at 18:25

    Politics should NOT be part of the Olympics. George Bush should go to the Olympics if he has the opportunity and desires to go. We were wrong in 1980 to boycott and deserved to be boycotted in return when it was our turn to host.

    If he chooses not to attend, could I have his ticket?

  61. 61 Ryan - Oklahoma
    April 10, 2008 at 18:27

    To those of you who say sport and politics should not be mixed, is China not using the Olympic Games to their political advantage? Of course they are. And if they are willing to use them to their political end, so too should we. When every citizen of China enjoys the rights every human is entitled to, then China will need not worry about Western protests.

  62. 62 Tomas
    April 10, 2008 at 18:28

    To say that the west is dealing with china in a hypocritical way is absolutely dead on; but than again the west has always maintained what is right for us is not necessarily right for others.
    I.E. – The US supported atrocities in Central America and did not suffer any boycott from the other west countries.

  63. 63 Tracy
    April 10, 2008 at 18:28

    Trying to change China’s Human rights record is up to china alone and only people around the world can actually get China to understand that the change is needed. Politicians boycotting the olympics will not cause china to do so and will make little of no difference when it comes to how china handles its business.

    However, if people around the world decide to boycott china, I am sure that is a more effective way to go about getting change. If people boycott the olympic sponsors by not purchasing their products if they decide to continue to sponsor such, and people decide not to attend the olympics or watch it, I believe that will go a long way in getting the message across to china.

  64. 64 Ga-lo
    April 10, 2008 at 18:28

    I am a Native American and believe that the U.S. president should not attend the Olympics. Why should those being oppressed and murdered further become forgotten so that we can play games. For me to support presidential attendance China would have to return the territories formerly known as Tibet. China would also have to free the spiritual leader known as the Panchen Lama. When a boy, he was arrested and replaced by a Chinese boy. This is disrespect for Buddhism and human rights. Why should we ignore evil every four years to pat each other on the back and maintain a facade of stability in foriegn relations?

  65. 65 Jesse
    April 10, 2008 at 18:28

    I think it would be interesting to see world leaders to go to the opening ceremony, but wear something to show support for Tibet’s cause. This could be something like a Tibetan flag similar to the American flag pins that our political candidates have been wearing.

    Jesse Shumway, University of the Pacific, USA

  66. April 10, 2008 at 18:28

    Of course in 4 years I think the chinese should boycott the London Olympics because of the human rights violations the British have commited in Iraq.

  67. 67 Rory
    April 10, 2008 at 18:30

    Mr Brown has a quandary. Let’s not TOUCH the flame outside Downing Street. Let the BLUE TRACKSUIT THUGS (literally) PROTECT the event of a a world uniting marathon IN CAREFULLY TRAINED manoevres – um -they did NOT protect the HOLDER of the flame – look at the rewinds of the events in London.- THE RUNNERS ARE NOT BEING PROTECTED – IT IS THE DEMONSTRATORS WHO ARE BEING ATTACKED ( SOUND FAMILIAR TO ZIMBABWE OR TIBET?). Actually…. who allowed those guys to run with the flame ,Mr Brown? Mr Sakorzy? Mr Swarzenegger? Mr Bush? The fact that these men have NO jurisdiction in the UK is a worry – or anywhere else for that matter. So already we are breaking the rules in favour of a dicator government. But we should be used to that – oil in Iraq- USEFUL Naval ports in Kenya….. But we do know – politics is not the same as hearing the cries of pain in a cell, or the lashes of hate, or the slice of a blade against human skin.
    That Mr Brown is not going – q’uel surprise! – after all votes may count after this revelation.
    It is impossible to reconcile the aims of democracy with the actions of China. But as we know politics has nothing to do with the real events of ‘now’. People are dying in Tibet – worse – they are being tortured in a lingering death. But it is good for the IOC to have the best of our athletes promote ‘open dialogue’ by competing in a country that has few human rights. China is only being accepted by the Western sheriffs, because they are frightened they might lose control.
    We recall Jesse Owens in Nazi Germany showing the finger to white superiority by winning. But one still has to ask. How many people have to die before we have a single event like this to remember?
    And…. has Jesse Owens win ACTUALLY done anything to world harmony?

  68. April 10, 2008 at 18:33

    I’d like to propose an “in-between” solution for my leader, George Bush, where he goes to the opening ceremonies in support of the athletes, but this ALSO gives him the opportunity to dialogue with the Chinese leaders, expressing his opposition to their human rights violations, especially the Tibet situation.

  69. 69 Alicia
    April 10, 2008 at 18:33

    I’m annoyed by those responding to this question who keep repeating, “It’s not about politics – it’s about the athletes.” I say, in the end, sports don’t matter, but human rights do. The fact remains that the Beijing Olympics would be the best time to draw attention to the human rights issues in China and one way to do that would be to have world leaders avoid attending the opening ceremonies. This does not mean that we have no respect for our athletes – God knows we’ll all be watching the Games on television, anyway – but that we have respect for those being oppressed by China and stand by them. If we cannot avoid contributing to the Chinese economy by purchasing their goods, the least we can do is take a symbolic stand.

    I do not think an entire boycott would be wise – turning our athletes around halfway there would be unfair and I do think the Olympic competitions create goodwill between the people of many nations. Perhaps the closing ceremonies would be the best time for leaders to celebrate the world gathering and the achievements of the athletes.

    Also, I just don’t want George W. Bush representing my country anywhere. I know it’s too late for that, but the less the world has to see him, the better.

    Washington, D.C.

  70. 70 Bri in USA
    April 10, 2008 at 18:37

    I believe GWB should attend the Olympics. Tibet is part of China, just as Northern Irelend and Scotland are part of the UK (2 countries that were oppressed into assimilation. This is the 21st century. If people in the USA and the Tibet protesters really believe that the Chinese government is corrupt, then we should stop buying products “Made in China”.

  71. 71 Joshua Klyber
    April 10, 2008 at 18:38

    1st, any time a high profile politician attends any event, it inherently becomes a political statement.

    2nd, The two decisive viewpoints are to protest china’s actions and to support the athletes. Do both. Use this opportunity. Have all the political leader’s attend the opening of the games but also have a prepared statement stating the support of the spirit of the games, but not the human rights violations. Then, hold a half day summit, inside China, regarding this issue and attempt to come up with solutions.

  72. 72 Akua
    April 10, 2008 at 18:38

    George Bush should certainly NOT attend the Olympics, but in the spirit of disappointing Americans over and over again, he will. Whenever Western societies are given an opportunity to choose between human rights or financial gain, money always wins. It is up to regular citizens to demand that our leaders respect Human Rights. Today, Darfur and Tibet, tomorrow America and France. It is time we stop thinking that those who suffer are not real. If the international community does not step up and do what is right, we may wake up to find ourselves suffering the same fate one day.

    China needs to join the rest of the members of the Security Council and place pressure on the Sudanese government to allow peace in Darfur, return Tibet’s autonomy and provide compensation for all the horrors they have caused.

    Atlanta, GA

  73. 73 Tracy
    April 10, 2008 at 18:38

    China is about 5000 years old. I am sure during that time, it has had to learn a lot from other worlds on what human rights is and what changes it, itself may need to deal with at home. The Human rights situation in China did not start yesterday and so it is irresponsible to demand that we continue to deal with china the way we have been for so many decades now. This problem did not start with China’s selection to host the olympics.

  74. 74 Jack from Cleveland
    April 10, 2008 at 18:40

    I think it’s sad that boycotting the Olympic celebrations is the only means of protest being explored. One year from now “Free Tibet” will be just a bumper sticker slogan again because all the well meaning non-Tibetan protesters will have moved on to protesting the G8 or WTO or Sudan or Burma,ect…


  75. 75 Chad by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:41

    I hope George Bush goes to the opening ceremony – and dosen’t come back

    -Chad in Oregon

  76. 76 sarah
    April 10, 2008 at 18:42

    I think George W. Bush should go to the Olympic games because we are just as bad as China, we invade sovereign nations and considering our recent use of torture I am not sure that our human rights record is really any better than China’s. It would be hypocritical to boycott China.

    San Francisco, Ca

  77. 77 Serina by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:43

    As a Chinese, though Singaporean, I am ashamed as a Chinese at how the Chinese regime – which no one elected to lead them – acts in regards to people under its rule. It does not give true freedoms or a free press or full human rights. That is what China would have to do for a start – address those issues. As for the spirit of the games, it was lost long ago. Why not boycott it, after all what are the games now other than an advertising opportunity of the highest magnitude. For athletes (many found to be on drugs) it is also only a chance for exposure to advertisers for future self-gain, they attend many meets during the year so the tearful aspirations for the games are little more than profiteering. The IOC has shown in the past they are just as bad and only out to protect their money spinning venture. This is not what Baron de Coubertin had envisaged.


  78. April 10, 2008 at 18:43

    There is not written anywhere that a leader of a nation has to go to the opening of any Olympics games.
    I beelieve they could send someone to represent the country and that should do it.
    We had the Olympics in Germany during the Hitler regime. China has to change its ways toward Tibet, but the Olympics games should not be affected by their behavior toward Tibet.

    Why should we boycott this Olympics game now? It is too late. That was something that IOC could have done in the beginning.

    Salt Lake City, Utah

  79. April 10, 2008 at 18:44

    I don’t want the Olympics to held in China. Period.
    The deal was supposed to be when they cleaned up their act, with respect to things like Tibet, Darfour, etc. They haven’t. So why are they there? They shouldn’t be. But seeing as they ARE, leave them alone. It’s not a political forum, and I don’t wnat to see another Munich. Got it?

  80. 80 Mike
    April 10, 2008 at 18:44

    Please be fair to China and history.

    An earlier listener said that Tibet was always an independent country and China invaded illegally. I would suggest all the people do some research.
    Relationship between China and Tibet was complicated, not that clearly cut as some think. Even Dalai Lama himself was appointed and approved by then Nationalist Chinese regime.

    Another point about Gordon Brown and western politicians, please stop using double standards and being a hypocrite. UK has this North Ireland issue,
    why so hard on Tibet? China did not invade Iraq. We only hear your guys talking about China cracking down violent protests! UK and France will crack down violent street protests too.

    For those who had some childish idea thinking Tibet was a Shangrila, please visit here:


    From Cleveland, OHIO

  81. 81 Richard by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:44

    Hi Ros,

    I’m not really a worldly kind of guy, but I think that what the Chinese are doing to the Tibetans is wrong. However, who are we to judge them and make them change their ways?

    Ron Paul, who used to be a Candidate for the US presidency made a great example about the US occupation of IRAQ in that, what if China were do the same thing to us? Would we just sit there and accept communism, or would we fight back? Even with the best intentions on their part, we would not want them invading our country just because they feel we are doing something wrong.

    So I think the world is using the Olympics to attack China politically and I feel that we don’t have the right to do so. The Olympics is about the world coming together and for sports. Not rivalry and disagreement.

    It’s sort of like a Sunday Dinner with the family. 🙂 Although we all have seperate lives, we all come together and have a good time.

    Great show, I love listening.



  82. 82 brian
    April 10, 2008 at 18:44

    world leaders should go to support their atheletes, however each leader should make a strong statement by wearing a black armband or some symbol that says to China “your treatment of your people is unacceptable and you will be held accountable by all world leaders for your human rights track record”. In my mind that visible statements speaks volumes over them being absent.

  83. April 10, 2008 at 18:45

    There is not written anywhere that a leader of a nation has to go to the opening of any Olympics games.
    I believe they could send someone to represent the country and that should do it.
    We had the Olympics in Germany during the Hitler regime. China has to change its ways toward Tibet, but the Olympics games should not be affected by their behavior toward Tibet.

    Why should we boycott this Olympics game now? It is too late. That was something that IOC could have done in the beginning.

  84. 84 Don by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:45

    I really don’t care what my leader (Bush) does. Nothing will be gained by the leaders boycott of the opening ceremonies. If the leaders are really concerned about China’s treatment of human rights, they should have announced a boycott of the Olympics when China was named, not now when its the politically advantageous. To send an effective message to China would require a boycott of goods, not the Olympics.

    Don, Kentucky, USA

  85. 85 Erin by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:45

    How in the world could the American government boycott the Olympics in China? How can we posibly penalize a country for something that happened over 50 years ago?

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too…. if you don’t like what China is doing, stop letting your corporations exploit their people and their economic possibilities.

    Erin in Mentor, Ohio

  86. 86 Sam
    April 10, 2008 at 18:47

    China is arm twisting the world into saying that it is a peaceful country. Nothing can be farther farther from truth. China is an expansionist and aggressive country with no respect whatsoever for human rights. I think all world leaders should boycott the opening ceremony, as it is not an athletic event anyways.By wanting them to attend China is making it a political event. Unfortunately too many governments and too many people are just plain scared of China.

  87. 87 jesse basse
    April 10, 2008 at 18:47

    do i want my leader to go to the olympics?my answer is capital no!why because there is no justification whatever to the kind of human right abuse that is currently going on in tibet,brutality at that magnitude should’nt be applaud.i don’nt support my countries president going there either,because he will be indirectly supporting human right violation.for God sake or for humanity sake whoever or whatever a government is it should respect the right and freedom of individuals and community to express their thougt or feelings,please chinese leave the tibetans alone,you’re an unwanted guest.

  88. 88 Corey by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:47

    What kind of a statement would have been made if the 18 African Americans that participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics had refused to participate because of Germany’s human rights violations? There were many Jewish athletes who sat out and chose to boycott the Berlin Olympics, as was their right. But I for one am glad that America as a whole did not boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics and chose to make the ultimate statement. Rather than boycotting the Beijing Olympics, we should participate with our heads held high and show them the true triumph of the human spirit in a free country.

    Corey in Portland, Oregon

  89. 89 Haas
    April 10, 2008 at 18:48

    I agree with Ian that the world leaders should go to Tibet and talk to the people of Tibet about what have been happening to them throughout all these years of occupation.

    The best is for the whole world population to turn off their TVs and not watch the Olympics at all, and punish not only China but also all the sponsors.

    But to solve the problem, there has to be some sort of a dialogue, and to start that dialogue the world leaders must attend and force China to free their people from the propaganda and most importantly free Tibet as well.

    On unrelated note, let’s not forget about the Palestinians too. Those people have suffered too much and still suffering…When is the Israeli occupation will stop?

    Thank you BBC for giving us the opportunity to voice our opinions.

    Keep up the good work.

  90. 90 Sergey by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:48

    This is Sergey from portland oregon.

    I really think that Bush should go to the olympics and continue pressuring china AS A FRIEND because i really think that as a FRIEND of China, more can be done than as someone who China may resent for boycotting them

  91. 91 Chuck Paugh
    April 10, 2008 at 18:48

    Over 90% of all companies and businesses in China are still GOVERNMENT OWNED therefore a boycott of Chinese made goods can affect political change. In listening to the discussion on the radio today, it seems that most callers are under the impression that factories in China are owned and operated by private enterprises which is just not the case. Buying Chinese made goods is supporting the Communist Red Chinese totalitarian regime. For this reason, my family refuses to shop at retailers such as Wal-mart in the USA. Wal-Mart is currently listed as China’s 5th largest trading partner ahead of most nations of the world.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  92. 92 Sara
    April 10, 2008 at 18:48

    Yes, I want President Bush to go to the Olympics. By boycotting Chinese goods and protesting the Olympics the protesters are only hurting the Chinese people. With more money flowing into China, and the exposure of the Olympics, there are more opportunities for average Chinese people to improve their lives. If we take that away we take those opportunities away too. China is changing, it’s getting better, let’s all hope that continues.

  93. 93 cristina
    April 10, 2008 at 18:49

    I believe Mr Harper was not going to the Olympics anyway. His statement suggested he MIGHT have not attended due to these issues, that it would simply cause him to reconsider.

    Montreal, Canada

  94. April 10, 2008 at 18:49

    I think any leader from the USA, especially Bush, would find it very difficult to boycott the opening ceremonies on the grounds of Human Rights given America’s horrible Human Rights record.
    Why doesn’t the world in general and USA in particular look at their own human rights record? Perhaps it is easier to attack others than take a hard look at your own problems.

    Free Tibet, Yes! What about Free Hawai’i?
    What about the rights of those in Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan?

    We all have a lot of work to do before we can demand that others live up to our double-standards.

  95. 95 Therese by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:50

    I think President Bush should stay home. Unfortunately it wouldn’t mean much – because he himself is a criminal against humanity.

    However, I am happy to see people standing up to China regarding their occupation and domination of the people and land of Tibet. It’s interesting that people refer to Tibet as a province of China. When I visited China, the people there genuiinely beleived that Tibet has always been a part of China. While the spotlight shines on China, I think all should take advantage of their need to put on a good face, and to let them know that we do care and don’t approve of their destruction of the Tibetan culture and way of life.

    Therese in Hillsboro, Oregon

  96. 96 Claire
    April 10, 2008 at 18:50

    I would want my leader to attend the Beijing Olympics. It is naive to say that politics and the Games are two different matters because undeniably, politics does influence the sports arena. But why can’t we view the leaders’ presence at the Opening ceremony as a support for their athletes? I believe this does not equate to endorsement of China’s poor human rights.

    A Singaporean studying in Beijing now

  97. 97 Michael by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:50

    I think George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should resign for high crimes and misdemeanors and that new President Nancy Pelosi should boycott the Olympics entirely until China begins negotiations with Tibet.

    Michael, San Francisco

  98. 98 B. Louis by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:51

    It’s time to think outside of the box. President Bush should attend the ceremonies. He should bring, as one of his envoys with full diplomatic immunity, the Dali Lama. This would be a non-violent, diplomatic coup

    B. Louis in Vancouver

  99. 99 Brett
    April 10, 2008 at 18:53

    No! Bush should not go and make a point while he’s there… He’ll screw it all up!

  100. 100 Terrence Wolf
    April 10, 2008 at 18:54

    World leaders should attend the Chinese Olympics, because not attending is simply an impotent, meaningless gesture. What does it mean to a Tibetan monk if the president of the US or the prime minister of the UK says that we see what is happening in Tibet, but our only response is to skip a party in China? Is that the best that the leaders of powerful countries can do? Wouldn’t it be more effective if they went to China and publicly expressed their objections about China’s policies where the Chinese people might hear? Or wouldn’t it be even better if they were so consistenly outspoken in their complaints about China that the Chinese government dis-invited them to the Olympics? Being pointlessly rude to make an empty statement is not world leadership.

  101. 101 Mouad Yousef
    April 10, 2008 at 18:55

    This is a bunch of BULL, Isrial is much worse then chine and you do not hear americans complianing about there abuse on Palestines. 10000 kiled so far

  102. 102 Steve by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:55

    It is totally up to the leader to decide. This is a messy topic, so many of the worlds major businesses and quite frankly the people are buying goods all made in China, which is doing more to support China then attending the Olympics. You could rationalize this from either side with each argument being valid.

    The Olympics however are political they are most definitely not just about sport. By definition they are organized by country against country, how could you get any more political? If they weren’t political why would world leaders go at all? And, why would it be a big deal if they didn’t go?

    If a leader wants to boycott, then do so. What is the harm? If there is any, it is entirely an offense to pride, ego and nationalism, both of what should be challenged now and then!

    Steve in Portland, Oregon

  103. 103 Mike by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:56

    An earlier listener said that Tibet was always an independent country and China invaded illegally. I would suggest all the people do some research.
    Relationship between China and Tibet was complicated, not that clearly cut as some think. Even Dalai Lama himself was appointed and approved by then Nationalist Chinese regime.

    Another point about Gordon Brown and western politicians, please stop using double standards and being a hypocrite. UK has this North Ireland issue,
    why so hard on Tibet? China did not invade Iraq. We only hear your guys talking about China cracking down protestors! UK and France will crack down violent street protests too.

    Mike from Cleveland, Ohio

  104. 104 Hans by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:57


    Three points:

    If there is one place where sport and politics should rightly mix it’s the Olympic Games, as the reason for inventing them in the first place was a political one.

    If there’s been one time when the Olympics did send an effective and positive political signal, it was in 1936 when Jesse Owen won gold in Hitler’s Berlin. That would not have happened had the games been boycotted.

    If there is one thing China can do to convince me it’s on the right track it’s easy: invite the Dalai Lama for the opening ceremony.

    Kind regards,

    Hans, The Netherlands

  105. 105 Mouad Yousef
    April 10, 2008 at 18:57

    Isrial is much worse then chine, i dont here americans talking about it

  106. 106 Jeff in Portland
    April 10, 2008 at 18:57

    The one thing I think China should do:
    Have Hu Jintao should make a formal statement –
    “China isn’t perfect, and as a country we still have lots of problems to work out . We acknowledge the Tibet issue needs to be resolved, but it won’t happen in two months. Despite our imperfections please still come.”

    I doubt it will happen.
    China and the US have one big thing in common – way too much pride.
    Chinese people truly believe their country is the greatest in the world, just like the United States does. They believe they can do no wrong, and the rest of the world is not as enlightened as they are.

    What is occuring right now is exactly what needs to happen: China is finally having to grow up. If China wants to have a full voice in the world conversation, they need to have a full ear as well. China wants the whole world to come to their doorstep, but they don’t want anyone to bring their mouths with them.

    What is the Olympics if not a vehicle to prod our world neighbors to improve?
    All the athletes that compete represent the standard of living of that country. The games are the world’s tea party where everyone can check each other out. Everyone looks at the winning athletes and thinks “I wonder what kind of place, culture, country created that fantastic athlete. I wonder what my country could do to improve and produce fantastic athletes like that.”

    I say – give China all the boycotting and badmounting it deserves. They wanted to step onto the world’s center stage, now they’re getting their wish.

  107. 107 Matthew Koon
    April 10, 2008 at 18:57

    I would like to see less of the the impassioned arguments and hear more reasonable solutions for a way forward.

    As an American who has lived in both Dharamsala and China, I’ve observed that both sides rely on a lot of rhetoric with little substance.

    Many of the Tibetan diaspora call for a free Tibet without acknowledging China’s problems with domestic unrest in Han population, not to mention among the Uighurs and the Taiwanese.

    The Chinese simply fall back on argument that Tibet is a part of China without acknowledging that it was only a part of China when the Mongol’s were ruling it.

    Moreover, Americans like to demonize China without realizing that the China finances US credit by buying up US Government Bonds and produces the majority of the consumer goods here.

    Lastly, Bush stand up for human rights? Is that joke?

    From Seattle

  108. 108 Sandy from Ontario Canada
    April 10, 2008 at 18:58

    I believe that the gentleman from Canada who said that Mr. Harper had decided not to attend the opening ceremony because of the Tibet situation, was mistaken. I am not a Harper fan, however he chose not to attend more than a month ago, mainly because he was not interested.

  109. 109 Chang
    April 10, 2008 at 18:58

    I am not sure the question is framed right. Instead of asking what china can do to change people’s mind, we should also ask what the western media should do to help the communication between the east and west! The western media did a great job in distorting the story in Tibet, and of course the turn out for the protest was that horrible in western countries. If the media were as good before the iraq war, I am sure the war would not happen!

  110. 110 Eric by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:58

    I would love to see my leader George W Bush go to Beijing, as I enjoy any opportunity to consider my country without him and the unforgivable human rights violations his administration is committing in my name.

    San Francisco

  111. 111 Polet by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:59

    I personally do not believe that the president of the United States should go to the Olympics opening game. I find it very funny that in the past the US had protested to go to Moscow for the Olympics due to they’re communist government. I think that sadly it doesn’t matter how many people are killed or such, since China is so important to economic trade countries will put aside the morality of the games and go anyway.

    The only way the president should go is if China could prove that it treats its citizens, both Chinese and Tibet fairly. Example, not destroying homes for the upcoming stadiums.

    Polet, Santa Monica, CA

  112. 112 Isabelle by email
    April 10, 2008 at 18:59

    I would like all leaders of ALL the democratic countries would stay home on the opening day of the OG.

    But, I would like to add that I am deeply shocked and saddened by the general reaction of the Chinees communities around the world. I would have hope that tasting the sweetness of democracy, they would have known better…

    Isabelle in Antwerp

  113. April 10, 2008 at 19:00

    Americans pick and choose what crimes aganst humanity based on their own intrest.

  114. 114 Nete by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:01

    i think it does not matter at least to me whether or not those presidents would come to the opening ceremony of Olympics Games,since i am more apt to recognize this as an individual preference .

    simultaneously i really get sick of those who connect Olympics Games with chinese human rights abuse which is virtually not as severe as most non-chinese people get to know. if you are chinese,you know you will always stand with your country.

    nete in china

  115. 115 Jane by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:04

    Did China decide to demand we repay our outrageous debt to them when we decided to invade Iraq without cause? This double standard is so silly. We ignore human rights all over the world every day.
    This is an athletic event not a political one. We don’t even have a good record in our own country. What is New Orleans if not a human rights situation.

    Jane in Portland Oregon

  116. 116 Liviu by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:04

    I would want ALL the world leaders attend the ceremony and each hold a Tibetan flag!

    Liviu, NEW YORK, NY.

  117. 117 Ingrid by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:05

    Have people not got it yet? Bush does as he pleases, he listens to no-one, besides, he doesn`t have the right to lecture anyone else on human rights abuses..

    Ingrid, Norway

  118. 118 Patrick by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:06

    Since Bush is undeniably the worst president in US history, then I say, make him go to opening ceremony.
    Having the most disgraced President ever, attend the opening or closing ceremony shows how much the US thinks of China’s human right record.

    Porland, OR USA

  119. 119 Alistair Walker
    April 10, 2008 at 19:06

    I wonder how many athletes who might have had their consciences pricked by China’s actions in Tibet, and will refuse to participate at the Bejing Olympics. In a rhetorical answer I would imagine we will be able to count them on the fingers of one hand.
    As a 2nd point the UK foreign minister several yers ago declared Britain would have a ethical foreign policy. By attending the closing ceremony, does this form part of this foreign policy. I suggest Gordon Brown is more concerned of a reciprical boycott at the next games, which just happen to be in London. mmmm ?

  120. 120 Mark by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:06

    Dear WHYS,

    Regardin the language of the IOC that seems political, I think that the IOC might have been implying not that China would be “cleaning up” it act in the run up to the Olympics, but rather what an international presence in China, that is, the effect of hosting the Olympics would have on China in general. In that light, various boycotts are quesitonable.

    As a one time athlete who knew Olympians in 1980 and 1984, I can tell you that the parties most impacted by boycotts are the athletes, many of whom only have that one Olympic Game as the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication.


  121. 121 Alan by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:07

    If Tibet was a Oil producing nation, possitive steps would have been taken a long time ago to deal with China’s actions and we wouldn’t be having these discussions.

    Alan in Cleveland, Ohio.

  122. 122 Sara by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:08

    I don’t think President Bush should go to the Opening Ceremonies in China and it has nothing to do with China’s policy. A precedent has been set by previous US presidents, not to attend the Ceremony and Bush should continue that tradition.

    Sara, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

  123. 123 Tom by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:10

    No, I don’t want Bush to go, but a more effective way to get Chinas attention would be to default on the US Debt to China, stop doing business with them, and sanction them from trade with the west.


    Tom in Bend, Oregon

  124. 124 Mark by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:11

    Decisions are made by those that show up. All leaders should absolutely attend the olypmic opening ceremonies. Not attending is just as ridiculous as the US not talking with the leaders of Cuba and Iran.


  125. 125 Gerry, Berlin
    April 10, 2008 at 19:11

    Leader?? I don’t have a leader.
    Gerry, Berlin

  126. 126 Lee by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:11

    Listening to your Chinese-English guest virtually defending China, makes me really annoyed with the remarks, “well let’s ignore what China is doing, because country X is doing that and Y this”. That does not justify what China is doing and is exactly what the Chinese regime do try to ignore what they are doing but pointing their finger at others. That’s not the point at all.

    Lee in Auckland

  127. 127 Prasant by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:13

    Whether Indian leaders should go to the inauguration of Olympics in Beijing

    No do not think so. Because besides protesting China’s Human rights record India has many more reasons to do so.

    China is illegally occupying some indian territory since 1963
    China is illegally occupying Tibet since 1953, a country which was more associated to India religiously and culturally.
    China is posing all kinds of threats to India, e.g. helping Pakistan on developing nuclear weapons

    And so on and so on. In return India despite having a fitting match with China on every count is always playing a disabled in front of China.

    I feel it is time for the new India to show its metal and stand with dignity. No matter in the process if sport is taking a back sit.

    What China can do to change my mind?

    Basically stop doing all the 1, 2 & 3 above

    Prashant in Kuwait

  128. 128 Paulette by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:14

    I do not think the president should go the the opening games in Beijing. He is a starter of a war and fully believe that not only china should be punished for the way it treats its tibetan citizens, but I also believe that if the Olympics is for peace, countries in war should not be allowed to participate.


    west los angeles, ca

  129. 129 Shawn by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:15

    To people who want to boycott China’s Olympics – Can you say your country has nothing to be ashamed of? If you want to boycott China, then let’s not have moral myopia. Let’s scrutinise every country’s report card. Debate on China’s human rights issues did not just happen this year. Why the sudden sensationalisation now? Why has the world been doing business in China over the past years. Isn’t hypocritical to ask for boycott now? Respect the Olympics and give China a chance. It is changing.


  130. 130 Caitlin by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:15

    The Dalai Lama, my great teacher, has taught me to ask good questions when analyzing any situation. Another good question is this: How do the Chinese view Tibet? I think the answer is this: They believe that they are actually helping a country that was formerly (in their eyes) backwards and barbaric—-and this is not an altogether erroneous view, given the somewhat oppressive, feudalistic nature of the Tibet which was formerly run under the monastic rule. The Chinese government wanted to bring education to the Tibetan masses (including women, who had been denied the opportunity of learning), as well as modernization. Before we balk at what the term “modernization” means to the Chinese government, allow us to consider the ways in which the U.S. has, in “well meaning” ways, brought modernization to other countries and regions which didn’t ask for our intervention.

    Caitlin in San Francisco

  131. 131 Jeff in Portland
    April 10, 2008 at 19:15

    Don’t invite the world to your house party,
    unless you’re ready for them
    to go thru your closet and medicine cabinet.

  132. 132 Paul by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:17

    During the days of Chairman Mao the Chinese had a song called “The East is Red”
    Today the stark reality is that it’s still true, but now it’s stained with the blood of Tibetan dead.
    Those who attend the olympics wade through the blood of Tibetans whose only crime was a desire to be freed from the yoke of the most oppressive regime currently known in the world.

    Paul, New Zealand

  133. 133 Peter by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:20

    The gentleman who phoned from Ireland got it right. The Olympics is purely commercial and therefore political too.

    I couldn’t give a damn whether Gordon Brown goes or not. If he goes I hope he stays there!

    Peter, Kent, UK

  134. 134 Kit by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:21


    I read in the Independent on Monday in Joahn Hari’s column that the US and European governments protested to the Chinese government because they had allowed their workers to form trade unions, and that would lead them to demand higher wages, and therefore less profit for western Retailers. As a result of this protest the Chinese government abolished these new trade unions. If this is true it proves one thing;

    The US and European governments don’t really care about human rights abuse in China and therefore their current protests are simply because it is becoming PC and the popular thing to do.


    Kit, London

  135. 135 Allen by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:23

    I am in Fiji and we have human rights violations, we had a coup and all peaceful protestor have been suppressed.

    We are in the same boat … our government backed China in the actions taken by China. They are a minority.

    But if my PM was invited I’d say – GO….. he may meet other world leaders whose country is at peace and someone may suggest to him one how to go about treating the situation.

    If he boycotts, then we will have two useless situations – Chinas suppressing of peaceful protestors will go on and we will miss a good sporting event, go there and do something good rather than boycotting and be left out.

    Allen in Fiji

  136. 136 Hana by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:25

    I want my president at the ceremony when he has a chance of aplauding Tibetan representation marching under their flag.

    Hana, Prague

  137. 137 Ryan by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:26

    Why dont those talking about a boycott, boycott chinese goods? ryan

  138. 138 Shannon by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:26

    Did people boycott sydney or athens? Of course not, because these countries don t imprison people for flimsy reasons or subjugate whole nations and force them to change their language and customs. If china really was the same as the image it tries to project then noone would have a problem with the olympics.

    Shannon, berlin.

  139. 139 Anon by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:27

    Its the sponsors who need to boycott the olympics . . Its china’s pocket that needs to be hit not the sports people.

  140. 140 Hewad by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:27

    I want the president to attend the Olympic.

    Hewad from afghanistan

  141. 141 Kiru by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:28

    Kiru in Jamaica – Enough with the politicizing of the Olympics. What good has ever come from any boycott except punish athletes? I PRAY my PM attends.

  142. 142 Anon by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:28

    Western leaders have short memories. Look at what happened in iraq. Kettle calling pot black. Olympics about sports. Politicians irrelevant.

  143. 143 Abdou by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:29

    It would be a shame for any leader not to attend since it would be disrespectful to the athletes of the country, also what is the difference between the opening and closing ceremony, i beleive leaders from around the world are using the situation to their advantage

    abdou from kuwait

  144. 144 Greg by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:29

    Greg from Portland sez: i d like to see a free Tibet, but i don t see my country giving the Dakotas back to the Sioux. Let the games go on!

  145. 145 Mark by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:30

    We should take out the national angle from these games, and let people compete as individuals by removing all national symbolism.

    Mark, southport, england

  146. 146 Ottilie by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:31

    Bush’s condition for going to opening ceremony should be chinas negotiation with the dalai lama. i am very struck as well by the clear comtempt of your chinese-british guest for concerns of minority rights in china.

    ottilie, prague

  147. 147 Edwin by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:31

    Put the Chinese government aside, I m sure the Chinese people wants the Olympic to be a success. If the Olympic is hijacked by the Tibet issue it will reinforce the Chinese citizen to stand by the actions taken by their government against Tibet now and beyond the Olympic.

    Edwin (Singapore)

  148. 148 Benoni
    April 10, 2008 at 19:32

    I didnt know that Olympic games are for presidents! If they have something to do there, they should go, if not , then certainly they shouldnt. It seems there is no more logic in thinking that politics will solve our problems.
    I am made to believe even more that God will help better than demonstrations. Let the politicians do their game at the olympics!


  149. 149 S Ajayi by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:32

    I think sportsmen, typically, want to continue with their game while women, children, and men are groaning under oppressive regimes. It s cynical.

    S. Ajayi

  150. 150 Mike by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:33

    Sports and politics cannot be seperated.Let us not forget that sports boycott help in dismantling apartheid.

    Mike, Nigeria.

  151. 151 Marion by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:34

    Its not advisible at all, something negative might happen. What G.w.Bush should do is to appoint delegates to represent them and let China stop its inglorious act by kicking out journalists.

    MARION, ABUJA, Nigeria

  152. 152 Layi by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:35

    My leader should go & engage Chines e leader in constructive engagement on Tibet.

    Layi, lagos, Nigeria

  153. 153 Basiru by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:35

    I advise my leader to go .Because sport and politics should not to be mix.But tibet should be given autonomy .

    Basiru from THE GAMBIA west africa.

  154. 154 savane
    April 10, 2008 at 19:36

    Why are we having this conversation now? Shouldn’t this have come up when IOC was choosing which country should host The Olympics. I think we’ve lost the plot as to why we have The Olympics and it’s a shame that they’ve been turned into a political and platform.

    I always thought that The Games, for their duration, turned their location into a political-less area. The Olympic Games unite us in sport – not politics or economics or social status.

    I wasn’t born during the 1936 Berlin Games. I was young when (he Olympics were held in Moscow, I remember the Seoul Games had some controversy, and there was at least one Commonwealth Games that Kenya didn’t attend. I stand to be corrected but wasn’t there controversy when the US hosted The Games – both times? I believe it was regarding Native Americans still living on reservations. Those Games still happened.

    Should Kibaki go? Yes. This is one opportunity that unites Kenyans irregardless of ethnicity. And unfortunately, ethnicity is dividing us more than ever now.

    How many countries that are insisting on the boycott, but are still trading with China?
    The Tibetian human rights supporters are diluting their cause by using The Olympics as a platform. Not unlike a child going shopping, and trying to convince Mum and Dad that they should get the goodies they want, because they’re in the supermarket anyway, and it would save them the cost of an additional trip! They’ve had 4 years to do it, and the media houses that are covering Tibet and China today, were in existence 4 years ago. Why are the protests only worth covering in 2008?

    When I hear people say China is oppressive and dictatorial, I agree. But which country isn’t? It’s subjective.

    Nairobi Kenya

  155. 155 Raymond by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:37

    I will tell my president Mr john Agyekum Kuffour to go but be bold enough to point out the human right abuses to the Chinese govt. World leaders must be there to put pressure on Chinese govt to do something about Sudan Crises as well.


  156. 156 Musa by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:38

    As much as China is not democratic, and has human rights flaws, the enormous socioeconomic development that’s taken place in the last 3 decades makes China deserving of the olympics. Life, Human rights in China in the last 2 decades have never been better.

    Musa, sierra leone.

  157. 157 Brian by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:38

    This is Brian in Namibia. The Chinese will not care about who boycotts or not. If you want something to change in China get the sponsors to back out.

  158. 158 Obiora by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:39

    Let America and the powerful countries stop hijacking world progress and freedom in this issue of olympics. It should not be politicized.

    Obiora from Nigeria

  159. 159 Ogbuji by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:39

    I dont want my leader to go because this is effective way to tell them about their wrong support to tyranical govt of SUDAN.

    Ogbuji, Nigeria

  160. 160 Dempster by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:40

    Hi, I think the West attitude toward China is unfair. The atrocity been committed in Middle East by the Israli is more devastating than the Tibet issue, yet no Arab nation has come out about boycott because of Israel.

    Regards, Dempster

  161. 161 Kevin by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:41



  162. 162 Sumayya by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:41

    P. Kibaki should go to support the athletes. Westerners stop being hypocrites and just keep politics away from sports.

    Sumayya from kenya.

  163. 163 Mairo by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:42

    Why approve of China as the host of 2008 olympics if their credibility is in doubt?

    Mairo, from Katsina,Nigeria.

  164. 164 Helene by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:43

    Dear WHYS,

    I listened to the broadcast today on whether world leaders (including Bush) should decline to attend the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in China. I heard a variety of opinions, however there was one point that I’ve not heard anyone bring up yet and that is that an action parallel to that of China’s in Tibet was the cause of the first Gulf War, Desert Storm, when Saddam Hussein tried to invade and subjugate Kuwait based on his claim of a historical proprietary right. Back then, this action was considered just cause for America to invade Iraq, so why should Bush give what could be considered a nod of approval to China while they are indulging in something his father thought was a reason to go to war in another country? This is especially ironic given America’s current presence in Iraq where without WMD’s, without any proof of involvement in 9/11 all the Bush Administration has to fall back on is a claim that Saddam Hussein was a threat to his own people for doing exactly what China is doing to the Tibetans. I think as long as America is occupying a sovreign nation thusly our president should be ashamed to show his face at such an event in support of another nation that is guilty of the same sort of actions.

    For myself, I decided the Olympics lost their claim to being a forum for world unity above politics and a symbol of good sportsmanship long ago when the bribery scandal in Salt Lake City was exposed and that city went on to host the Olympics despite the tainted selection process, followed by the scandal regarding the Figure Skating competition at those games. I also feel given the amount of scandals involving the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs by athletes and the subsequent stripping of medals has also tainted the whole event so to claim that the Olympics are an event that needs to be elevated to a pedestal of respect is a joke at best.

    Helene, Oregon City, Oregon, USA

  165. 165 Dr Tim by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:44

    Why should an African leader like Obasanjo get involved,they should concentrate on looting the treasury,rigging elections, and impoverishing their people.

    Dr Tim, Nigeria

  166. 166 Sudhir by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:45

    I believe that all leaders should boycott the olympics as the basic principles of the olympics are not followed ie peace And harmony

    Sudhir (Nepal)

  167. 167 Anon by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:46

    Afrian “leaders” will go because China stocks their arsenals and lines their pockets.

  168. 168 Evan by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:46

    The west has spoilt china s party. Wait until the us or the uk get a major event. People around the world should demonstrate about iraq them we see how the two countries react.

    Evan. Nairobi.

  169. 169 Chima by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:47

    Please what do all these Human right campaigners do about Bush & Gordon on Iraq?… or is it not Human right issue?

    Chima, Nigeria.

  170. 170 savane
    April 10, 2008 at 19:48

    Purely for selfish reasons, if President Kibaki is going because he’s sees this a one of the ways to bring us together nationally, then he should go.

    Alternatively, if he’s representing Kenya in a specific event, or he’s going as a cheerleader, the stay home!

    Nairobi Kenya

  171. 171 Tunde by text
    April 10, 2008 at 19:48

    Its amazing how totalitarian govts try to shield their human rights abuses from the rest of the world while wanting to have the good things that humanity has put together to promote adherence to human values such as freedom. I remember how worried Russian officials were some years ago because they thought foreign students would be talking to foreign reporters about racism in their country.

    Tunde. Nigeria.

  172. 172 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 10, 2008 at 19:53

    Hi! 🙂

    @ S Ajayi: It’s true we cannot be indifferent to world problems, and as Mike mentioned, sports can be a way to protest and express our point. But it’s not fair to boycot the games… Life goes on, and it’s not fair to destroy other people’s dreams: people who are working too hard to make the games become a reality, sportsmen getting prepared for it (and companie$ that offer jobs to others to organize the competitions). Tibet’s situation is a concern for the whole world, but the Olympic games are never meant to be an aproval to China policies, are they? There are many other different ways to state your point without harming others.

    Also, if George Bush attends the games, it would be better for him to stay quiet. He does not need more campaigns, and it would definitively have a negative impact in Americans’ concept about him. :S


  173. 173 Lutto by email
    April 10, 2008 at 19:55

    Hi, president museveni should go. Lets not mix politics with sport or music, perhaps its the only way we can unite. I know that some countries are not happy with chinas development, but let them use the UN not olympics. Thanks.


  174. 174 Haas
    April 10, 2008 at 20:37

    All of the leaders of the free world should attend the event. While attending the Olympics they should all wear the Tibetan Headband (Free Tibet) as solidarity with the Tibetan people.

    Since they represent the free world, let’s see if they can feel free to wear the headband and let’s see what the Chinese government will do about it.

    Just a suggestion to the leaders of the free world.

    Free Tibet, Free Palestine.

    Haas from Chicago, USA

  175. April 10, 2008 at 20:46

    I really do not know the value of leaders missing the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing Games come August. I am certain that from the moment the Games were awarded to China there was always some awareness that the IOC was venturing in ‘new’ terrritory.

    However, as Selena said in an earlier posting, who is protesting the conditions in Darfur, Haiti, Zimbabwe and Palestine, etc.? Surely, we have said things but those seem hardly comparable to the volume of concerns echoed on China-West relations, in this forum. Indeed, we are entitled to say what we think and protest even, however, it is telling that there does not seem to be an equivalent response in some of the cases mentioned above, as well as elsewhere, notwithstanding the differences of each context.

  176. 176 Thomas Murray
    April 10, 2008 at 21:28

    A correction to my note about RISING FOOD PRICES. I was wrong about a can of Budweiser being 16 ounces. They are 12 ounces. I went down the mall to the local grocery and recorded prices on staples here. The amount in a can of beer was the only thing I got wrong. Luckily it looks as though this post didn’t go through anyway. If not, I feel a lot better about it. It’s better that a post not go through than to be wrong about one vital thing.

    Congratulations on the Sony nomination. You’re giving a voice to people who — because of prejudice or oppression in their own countries — would otherwise not be heard.

    –Regards. Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  177. 177 Andrew
    April 10, 2008 at 21:32

    Absence of the G8 leaders, the world’s most powerful economies, is a SLAP in the face for the FACE-CONCIOUS Chinese.

    Like OBAMA said, it’s still too early to decide; if by summer the Chinese still refuse to even meet the Dalai Lama, to come up with Tibet initiatives acceptable to His Holiness, then, world leaders can concoct polite excuses: We never attended before, we never said we’re going so it’s not a boycott, we’re sending our sports minister cause it’s about sports, atheletes are all participating, we need to stay at home to solve our domestic problems like the economy and the financial uncertainties, blah blah.

    To the Chinese who tell Westerners that Tibet is none of their business, bear in mind, the baby-boomer generation in western electorates, are sympathetic, even if poorly informed, of the Tibet cause. They vote for their leaders, who don’t want to piss them off.

  178. 178 savane
    April 10, 2008 at 21:39

    Oops, my last message was sent incomplete:

    Second paragraph:

    If Kibaki’s NOT representing Kenya in an event, isn’t on the cheerleading squad, or a coach, then stay home and watch The Games while sorting out the coalition deadlock.

    But, don’t pull Kenya out of The Games!

    Nairobi Kenya

  179. 179 Thomas Murray
    April 10, 2008 at 21:40

    Oh, yeah.

    I understand Brett’s disaffection for Bush, and would augment Sean in Beijing’s comment. We should leave politics out of the Olympics.

    No nation is without blemish. Blaming China for its treatment of Tibet is heedless showboating. We really need a time of year when we can put away our grievances and try to see a way we can live together. I can think of little that is more noble an endeavor than the Olympics.

    I thought Gorden Brown had more class than to stoop to cheap demagoguery.

    Let the Chinese celebrate their accomplishments. They’ve earned it.

    –Regards. Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  180. 180 George USA
    April 10, 2008 at 21:56

    First President to attend foreign Olympics

    “Reeves says this would make Bush the first US president to attend an Olympics Games outside America.

    Despite the controversy, President Bush announced last week that he will attend the Games. It’s an unprecedented move–apparently no American president has ever attended an Olympic Games held abroad–and China’s human rights violations make Bush’s decision seem all the more unwarranted.

    Let’s see … Chelsea Clinton attended Sydney 2000 in lieu of her dad, Hillary attended Atlanta in ‘96, H.W. Bush didn’t attend Barcelona in ‘92 (not totally sure on that… but can’t find anything on Google that says otherwise)… so the last two presidents didn’t go to the Olympics. George W. didn’t go to Athens in ‘04, either – too busy clearing brush and duking it out with John Kerry, we assume.

    But according to the IHT, Franklin Roosevelt attended – of all games – the Berlin Games in 1936. We can’t find any other sources that confirm the fact, though. So is Reeves right or wrong? It’s quite possible that he is right, because the Olympics always fall on the year of a presidential election, but Bush’s schedule will likely be freer than most. Unlike every president since Lyndon Johnson (and most before him), doesn’t have a horse in next year’s race – it will be the first time since 1968 that neither an incumbent president or his vice president has run. It would have been difficult for Roosevelt to get away from campaigning to go to Berlin by ship for the games. Now, if Reeves is right, why does Bush want to set such a precedent in Beijing? Why risk a potentially embarrassing PR backlash if, say, Falungong activists are arrested in Beijing during the games? It’s all very strange.”


    I only pass this on, since it was all I found on previous protocol of presidents attending the Olympics.
    I cannot say if it is 100% correct or not.

  181. April 10, 2008 at 22:22

    Wrong,absolutely wrong when hear from differebt quarters that Olympics is being politicied in China.

    Ground reality is screaming as a reliable eyewitness in the court of conscience justified autonomy with human right are killing in Tibet and duty of all the people living on the earth move forward and stop it.

  182. 182 Abi
    April 11, 2008 at 06:47

    I cannot agree more with Hiam Chapman ‘s email regarding Mr Bush being a great president. There is no doubt that Mr Bush is well aware of the fact that boycotting Moscow Olympics was a BIG mistake as it did nothing to change the situation. The Soviets remained in Afghanistan for more Eight years!!

    So to all of you who object, please stop playing politics, lets send our leaders to the Olympics and let us enjoy the event peacefully thank you.

  183. 183 Des Currie
    April 11, 2008 at 07:20

    My leader? Just who is this “My leader”? Surely you must mean “My civil servant”?
    The media subverts democracy by its choice of words. Why is this? Try to answer seriously.
    Mbeki is not “My leader”. I would sooner follow a goat up a mountain crevice than to follow “my leaders” path to doomsday.
    Des Currie

  184. April 11, 2008 at 08:20

    Head of the world orgnisation,Ban Ki Moon said ”he will not attende the Olympics”

    Its a indication,message to all the world leaders that what they should do in regard to the Olympics Games going to held in China.

    We should consider this matter and rightly come to the conclusion that what are real meanings behind this message.

  185. April 11, 2008 at 09:05

    I think the issue of the leaders boycotting the OLYMPICS seesm to have taken front stage more tahtn more humanitarian issues around te world. Its not whether leaders should attend opening or closing ceremonies BUT rather whether the humanitarian abuses should continue or stop.People are suffering in ZIM, others are raped in Eastern DRC, food prices are risisng and most of all others are still suffering i secret CIA prisons but no one talks about whether the leaders of these countries should make public appearances at the Rose Gardens of the White House or even at 10 Downing Street. Let us stop this hypocrisy and act now or else, humanity will be wiped out.

  186. 186 Ahmad Hammad
    April 11, 2008 at 13:12

    Since China is the best friend of Pakistan and has been helping in various fields since 1960s, our leadership should for sure go there.
    As a matter of fact, our president Pervez Musharraf (though I won’t call him president, for he is an illegal, unconstitutional president) is already on a 5-day visit to china alongwith some ministers from the new government. This is a great gesture of friendship that after taking oath, our democratic leadership went to china as their maiden visit.
    We don’t have any reservations against the western stance on Tibet. We all know that the agitation and even the issue itself has been intrigued and sponsered by the great powers of the West.

  187. 187 Chris from Germany
    April 11, 2008 at 17:00

    Hi everybody,

    I think to say the Olympic Games are not political is ignoring the facts. They have always been and were even political in ancient Greece. China is (ab)using the games for a great show of propaganda, and to be at least not part of the biggest propaganda show, the grand opening, makes sense to me.
    With regard to human rights one should have not given the games to China in the 1st place, the problems not only in Tibet were well known. By the way, Tibet was occupied by China in the 1950s and not yesterday!! But up to now noone seemed to care to take notice. What I find interesting is that in the media only the possibility of a boycott of the games is being discussed, although there would be other possibilities for the politicians, an economic boycott for example. But there is so much money to be made in trading with China…. I understand that noone wants to go to war with China because of Tibet, as China is so powerful, and there is no oil in Tibet, as opposed to Kuwait or Iraq…..


  188. April 12, 2008 at 03:51

    No leaders should go because the Chinese Communist regime keeps saying Olympics are just sports. So we’d better not upset them by sending out politicians since the Chinese Communist regime has said many times that sports and politics don’t mix. For the same argument, we should not let our athletes carry any national flags or play any national anthem since we want to keep things apolitical.

    Communist China is by far the worst human rights violator in the world. As a Chinese living abroad, I do pay more attentions of the repressions in China than many of my non-Chinese friends.

    The fact we have been watching on TV the Palestinians’ struggles, the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and many other events for the past, it makes all of us quite aware of problems elsewhere in greater details than what the world knows about China. I don’t think the human rights abuses elsewhere come near the brutalities of Chinese Communist government. Just as the Holocaust is, by far, one of the most horrific tragedies in human history, the crimes against our people committed by Chinese government in China should be put in the same category of the genocide of Jews. It’s estimated 50-70 million people that have died under communist regime in China. I hope there will be justice for my fellow Chinese who are continue to bear the pains and humiliation under the regime.

    All those who want to try diplomacy with China, you just don’t understand the Chinese government’s logic. Having left China more than a decade, I’ve realized that there isn’t any so-called Anti-China forces as we have been told over and over again by the government. There is, however, an anti-Communism forces that are rather a creation of Communist regime’s own wrong-doings, the dissidents who escaped China and those non-Chinese who speak out against Chinese government, they have the best interests of China in mind.

    Some years ago, I was offended by the criticism of China by some foreign governments even though I was aware of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. But even then, I know I could not defend a regime that did not and will never represent the people in China. I got over the nationalism sentiments and have been working to improve China’s human rights ever since. I hope anyone who wants to be a true friend of China and the people there, think about a long term solution. The friends of the Communist regime will not be seen as friends by Chinese in the future, just as friends of the Nazi’s are not be seen as doing any good for Germany by Germans.

    I remember everyone in the U.S. wanted Tanya Harding to go to the Olympics even though everyone suspected her of foul play in the attack against Nancy Kerrigan. But what did the U.S. gain by sending her? Humiliating themselves on the world stage. When we comprise our principles, we will simply humiliate ourselves as well.

  189. April 12, 2008 at 23:41




    Prince Pieray Odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

  190. 190 Sara Cosh
    April 13, 2008 at 03:06

    It doesn’t matter to me if Gordon Brown attends or not. What matters is the fact this whole thing has brought both Tibet and Darfur to the fore. And not only that but the fact that China is not the only country with a poor humans rights record. I think as a world community we should use the Olympics as a chance to interact in a peaceful arena.

  191. 191 Ros Atkins
    April 14, 2008 at 12:54

    Ros –

    In situations like this, I apply a rigorously tested method that I call “WWWD?” Essentially, I ask myself, “What would George Bush do?” and then, based on years of research and empirical data, I do the opposite. It has greatly increased my odds of success in nearly every endeavor. So, given these facts, I would say that leaders should not go to the Olympics.

    Jerry Cordaro

    Cleveland OH

  192. 192 Loni in California
    April 16, 2008 at 21:02

    I believe President Bush should go to the Beijing
    Olympics because of two reasons:

    1. The Olympic is a forum to promote peace and
    dialogue between very diverse populations of people.
    This principal should not be violated, otherwise it
    can be used for any purpose good or evil. What if some
    nations with ill intend also use the Olympic as the
    leverage to achieve their goals? — History did not
    lack such tragic example. Please keep the Olympic out
    of politics, please help the world keep a small number
    of forums purely for peaceful purposes.

    2. Specific to the current situation. I believe the
    world leaders going to China can engage the Chinese
    Government in dialogues much much more effectively. I
    feel strongly that the international community should
    negotiate with the Chinese Government to send an
    international delegation to Tibet, and report to the
    world what is truly going on in there, and what the
    ~2.6 million Tibetans living in the Tibet Autonomous
    Region want for their lives. We have heard enough of
    what the Tibetan Exile Community want for their lives,
    but we do not know if they represent the ordinary

    Best Wishes


  193. 193 Aussie
    May 8, 2008 at 17:41

    The Olympics WAS, IS and ALWAYS WILL BE politicised.

    China politicised the 1956 Melbourne Olympics by boycotting it because Taiwan was allowed to participate. And many countries (including China) boycotted the Moscow Olympics to protest the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan.

  194. 194 HX, UK and China
    June 17, 2008 at 19:19

    As a Chinese who had lived for more than 30 years in China and now have lived in the west for 2 years, I can’t understand why people think China is so bad. I never had any so called human right issues in China but I do have seen severe human right problems here in the UK (google HSMP if interested). Also, it seems nowadays all western people are kidnapped by “Free Tibet”. I want to ask you, Have you yourself actually been to Tibet? If yes, what did you see there? Was what you see all bad? I think most people can’t answer because they’ve never been there and all their knowledge about Tibet is from those free tibet campaigners who have also never been to Tibet (most of them are refugees born overseas).

    As myself, I am strongly against the Olympic being held in China, given majority of the west are double standard and hypocrite when judging Chinese people or anything related to China. (And unfortunately, it’s the west who dominates the rules of the world) The Olympics costs Chinese taxpayers too much and doesn’t promote peace and mutual understanding as we have expected.

    Don’t come, honestly. I want all Chinese people to get a big lesson for their mistakes of being naive to the west.

  195. 195 Frank Zhang
    June 23, 2008 at 05:46

    China has done a far better job than what you have imagined in many areas including human rights. I pity those who get those hearsay and think all of those are real.

    Who cares your leader will come or not??? How about asking a common Chinese and see whether she/he cares?

    Do not over-estimate yourself or your country. If you do not come, that is fine. You are not welcome either.

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