ཡུམ། Tibetan Women's Reality

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A Complaint with the Olympics


photo credit: canale666

They’ve done it again, just like Beijing 2008, the Olympic Committee has decided to pick a host country with an authoritarian government using the Games for political purposes. The Olympic Committee is not responsible for passing moral judgments, that’s true, but it is difficult to believe that they can’t see how this event has become a tool for dictators to solidify domestic control while building international prestige. As Tibetans learned in 2008, the Olympics directly contribute to human rights violations and the loss of freedoms.

Not only did the political situation in Tibet become worse during the 2008 Olympic Games, it got worse because of them. China launched a heavy handed crack-down on dissent targeting anyone who was suspected of protesting, or even potentially protesting. One of my own relatives, who had escaped to India and later returned to live in Lhasa, spent a year in a sunless prison for no reason other than accusations he knew protesters based on the fact he’d been in India. If China hadn’t hosted the Olympics, he would never have been arrested, never have spent one day in jail. Travel restrictions also increased, preventing those of us in exile from visiting our families.

Now, in Russia, the Olympics are being used for political gain much the same way they were in Beijing, again at the expense of the public. News reports show critics of the government being harassed while a smiling President Putin has his picture taken with successful athletes. Rather than something to cheer about, the Olympics have become a disgrace.


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