Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Burning Flame: China's Political Situation or The Olympic Torch

While reading about the Olympic torch's reception in all of the different cities, I found this map tracking the torch throughout the world.

Today we can see that the torch is in Tanzania where it was welcomed rather than disrupted. In Paris, London and here in San Francisco protesters fought against the running of the torch to demonstrate their anti-Chinese sentiments with regard to the situation in Tibet and China's not so sparkling human rights record.

I chose to write today, because I think its better in this situation to highlight the positive response in Tanzania. I believe that human rights are an important priority and so is the settlement of issues in Tibet. However, I do not feel that aggression against the Olympic torch relay helps the situation at all.

The Olympics are a really great chance to bring peace-loving spirit to Beijing, and while many believe that maybe Beijing is not the right place because of current events--I think there are multiple ways to consider this situation.

The first way is to say that China is a violator of human rights, which has also been negligent regarding Tibet, and should not be able to host the Olympics.

The second way is to consider the positive effect of sport. Doing some research, I learned about the theory that sport is a way to promote peace and development. The Olympics bring about healthy competition between nations, separate the strong from the weak, attract a large number of tourists and athletes to a nation and also promote the generation of ideas and a meeting of people from around the world. China has significant potential to benefit from this situation. There are positive benefits China may gain from hosting the Olympics in Beijing.

I can't say for certain, but I really believe that the Olympics might bring a spirit of progressiveness to the Chinese. Not allowing China to host the Olympics, however, would seriously hinder any chance for change in the nation.

The Olympics are a wonderful way for world actors to interact and the torch serves as a symbol for this unique forum. Rather than acting aggressively towards the running of the torch, EMBRACE it.

And with regard to China's internal issues--let's engage in productive dialogue. Let's use the United Nations and other international organizations to promote this dialogue. Let's start from the ground up and talk about change in blogs like mine. Let's get the word out.

Bottom line: The torch represents a ray of hope--let's not destroy that.

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