Still convinced that China is slowly making progress on the human rights front? Well, think twice. After all China is a dictatorship, which forces 77- and 79-year-old ladies to one year of “reeducation through labor”, as these cynics call it. So why are two grandmas treated like dangerous enemies of this mighty state? Because they tried to publicly complain about the forced eviction from their homes.
The Olympics could have been and should have been their stage, a chance to speak up without fear. Instead, their stepping on the world stage has once and for all shown the real and very ugly face of the games.
Yes, these Olympics could have worked as a trojan horse for human rights in China. But almost no one was ready to get into that horse – or out of it once it was inside . It’s a shame, and a disaster for the human rights movement.
“There’s something lurking just beneath the surface. It’s the Olympics as Potemkin Village, the Olympics as propaganda, the Olympics as police state.
Beijing wonderful? Isn’t this all about peace, and unity, and brother and sisterhood? Isn’t this all about fun and peaceful competition? Isn’t this all about entertainment and sport as a unifying force? Isn’t this beyond politics? Well, no, it isn’t. The protests for human rights, for Freedom for Tibet, for free speech, for an end to the genocide in Darfur have all been suppressed in China.
But, folks, we’re not in China. And we need to raise a ruckus. We need to call on China to free Wu Dianyuan And Wang Xiuying, and everyone else they are holding to keep Berlin Beijing and its Olympics beautiful.”