In my eyes the question, if it was a mistake to give the Olympics to Beijing, cannot yet be answered. If nothing much happens during this time, when the whole world is watching, it will have been one of the biggest mistakes of recent times. If the games go on without much interruption, it will make it even easier for the communist dictatorship to sell the most important of all its lies to the world. The lie, that only they can keep China on the development track. The lie, that China just needs some time. The lie, that it cannot and must not be pressured, because that would be western arrogance.
If on the other hand we use this window of opportunity to speak and stand up for freedom and democracy, if enough people in and outside China take to the street, the games could become the starting point for what might be the most important political change of the 21st century.
Right now I am not optimistic. But it’s all up to us!
Freedom House, the No.1 think tank to study the development of liberal Democracy around the globe, has lots of materials on Chinas human rights record and the Olympics:
“Beijing was selected to host the summer Olympics in 2008 despite its dismal human rights record. Although China is a rising global economic power, the government continues to restrict even the most basic political rights and civil liberties of Chinese citizens. Chinese citizens have no say in their leadership, the judiciary is not independent, and freedom of speech, association, and religion are all severely restricted.”