The Guardian July 18, 2001


On to Beijing 2008

by Marcus Browning

After being narrowly defeated (by two votes) by Sydney in a dirty and 
corrupt campaign surrounding the selection of host city for the 2000 
Olympics, Beijing has been, by a substantial majority, awarded the honour 
of hosting the 2008 Summer Games. China's bid on this occasion was marked 
by support from those interested in sport (including Australia's 
International Olympic Committee representative) and protests from some 
political quarters. The decision has set big business interests drooling at 
the prospect of a profit bonanza. Generally speaking, however, athletes and 
Olympic Committee member countries welcomed the Beijing win.

Like the Sydney Games, Beijing 2008 will bring people together from around 
the world to celebrate the Olympic ideals. It is no exaggeration to say 
that that is what the majority of the people around the world want and 
expect.

The preparation of the Olympic site in Beijing has been under way for 
years. Beijing has already played host to the large-scale Asian Games. The 
capability and standards of its sports teams are steadily improving as 
witnessed by the fact that the People's Republic of China came in third in 
the medal count in the Sydney Games, after the US and the Russian 
Federation.

Huge crowds in Beijing and other Chinese cities welcomed the vote as giving 
recognition to China's rightful place in the world. China has the largest 
population of any country and has a rapidly growing economy. It is one of 
the big five powers on the United Nations Security Council and plays an 
increasingly important role in world affairs.

However, over the next seven years Western anti-Communist political forces 
will do their utmost to use the Games to pressure China to "change".

"Reform", "open up" and "democratise" are the code words used by those 
intent on reimposing capitalism in China. Headlines such as "Chinese 
promise social change", "Red letter day for China's Communists", "Beauty 
and the Beast" (comparing Toronto and Beijing) have appeared in the reports 
of the venal press which immediately jumped into action with a campaign 
that will not let up until the 2008 games are over.

And what about the other contenders  Toronto, Osaka, Paris and Istanbul?

Who is at the human rights barricades protesting about Turkey's atrocities 
against the Kurds or its widespread oppression of its own citizens over 60 
of whom have died in a hunger strike against the conditions in Turkish 
jails?

What protests are being made over France's ongoing colonial stranglehold on 
the nations of the Pacific and its history of nuclear testing and weapons 
build-up which increases the danger of nuclear annihilation?

What of Canada's violations of labour rights and its anti-democratic drive 
to crush progressive political forces, including attempts to outlaw the 
Communist Party of Canada?

Or Japan's aiding and abetting the attempt of the US to impose its military 
hegemony on the rest of the world?

And what of the US itself, which now has the biggest prison population in 
the world and is rife with racism and drugs?

Human rights

The developed capitalist Western powers, having limited their concept of 
human rights to such things as the right to vote in multi-party elections 
and free-wheeling individualism, use those values to point the finger at 
"human rights abuses", alleged or real, in countries they wish to intervene 
in for political and economic ends.

That is the justification for the imposition of blockades, economic 
pressure, interference and military intervention against Cuba, Yugoslavia, 
Iraq, Iran, Panama, Grenada et al.

This campaign has been led by the US Government with the support of others.

The Australian Government has undertaken selective human rights missions to 
China and Vietnam in the past 20 years. Together with the US it waged 
aggressive wars in Korea and Vietnam.

A number of Western countries retain military bases in Malaysia and other 
countries.

All Asian countries have suffered generations of colonial domination, 
racist exclusion and exploitation. China's growing strength and position in 
the world will also help them stand up for their independence.

The people of many Asian countries will welcome the Games in Beijing as a 
victory for the whole of Asia.

"Window of opportunity"

Following the Beijing announcement, another headline ran, "Race is on to 
share in Beijing's billions". Australian companies are reported to have 
lined up around $3-5 billion worth of contracts in China. They see the 
Olympics as a "window of opportunity".

Foreign investments in China are seen as an opportunity to push the door 
even wider, not only to profit from the world's biggest market but to exert 
economic and political pressure and to support and encourage counter-
revolutionary, anti-Communist political forces that still remain.

There are even calls from some quarters, including the President of the 
European Parliament, for a boycott of the Beijing Games.

Such was the case in 1980 when the then US President Jimmy Carter imposed a 
boycott on the Moscow Olympics, with the support of the Fraser Government 
in Australia. However, Australian athletes and the Australian Olympic 
Committee refused to comply with the boycott and attended.

The Moscow Games were a great success for international peace and 
friendship, but they could have been a disaster for the Olympic movement.

Over the next seven years, China will be subjected to intense pressure to 
comply with Western demands. The West will pursue its aims of not only re-
imposing capitalism but also breaking China up by detaching Tibet, Taiwan 
and Hong Kong and stirring up racial and religious conflicts in regions 
with ethnic minorities.

In this campaign the Falun Gong will be financed, supported and publicised 
to play a foremost part as will the Dalai Llama and other such tools of the 
Western countries.

While the Western powers have their agenda, the next seven years will also 
see a further substantial strengthening of China's socialist economy and 
her consolidation in the world and this will help to make the Beijing Games 
as big a success as those of Sydney.

The Olympic Charter calls upon all the national Olympic Committees to 
resist political, economic and religious interference and it is to be hoped 
that this spirit will triumph.

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