In the early 1930s, the bid to host the 1936 Summer Olympics was won by the rising German Reich, spearheaded of course by the personification of evil, Adolf Hitler.
Though the location of the games at that time seemed relatively harmless, the grandeur of the spectacle legitimated, in many previously contesting eyes, Hitler’s reign over the motherland and the positive effects that he was having on the nation previously overrun by depression.
We all know how the story turned out.
In 2001, China won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Though some see this as an inclusion of Asia in a seemingly Europeanized tradition, it seems to many others to be a frightening repeat of a mistake made 70 years ago.
Now that the games grow near, these sentiments are turning into protests against China for the volumes of environmental and humanitarian travesties in which it willingly engages — not to mention the deplorable measures it has taken in preparation for the Olympics.
Beijing has the most polluted air in the world.
Though the effect of said pollutants on the athletes would be minimal, it is rather unpleasant, and to try to attract spectators the Chinese government has shut down or relocated huge amounts of factories, stripping thousands of jobs from the city’s working class.
Obviously, the easiest way to counterbalance this is to remove pesky homeless people from the scene as well.
According to Metro Media, thousands of beggars have been transferred to camps outside the city limits.
Within the city exists a rampant stray pet population, unsightly for reporters and upper-class Olympic visitors.
Thus, the national government has set up what animal rights groups are calling “death camps” for hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs, in an attempt to clean up the streets for visitors. They have engaged in several land grants and enforced evictions of privately owned land in preparation for the games.
Several subsequent protestors, in a traditionally Chinese repercussion, have been murdered.
China has also been trying to lighten their global image.
Aware of their infamy as the new Stalinist USSR, the government has allowed for the Dalai Lama to return to his home in Tibet, a country he has not been allowed to return since the Chinese Army massacred his family and village in 1959 in an attempt to quell the rumor that the next reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion may have been Tibetan.
This action was made in an attempt to conceal both the fact that they have refused to allow the Buddha to be reincarnated in current Chinese territories, a tradition that exceeds the communist regime by several centuries, and the fact that the Tibetan people “have had to live in a state of constant fear, intimidation and suspicion under Chinese repression,” and that “in Tibet, repression continues to increase with numerous, unimaginable and gross violations of human rights, denial of religious freedom and the politicization of religious issues,” according to the Dalai Lama.
The Chinese Government has engaged in “bribing and threatening large numbers of members of the International Olympic Committee” according to Lesh Donlup, a human rights worker. A number of U.S. Representatives, including the late Congressman Tom Lantos, have testified to this on national television.
The Olympic Charter defines the philosophy of the Olympic Games as the “respect for universal fundamental ethical principles” and its goal of promoting “a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
China has spent the last 50 years actively combating every word, every essence and every value expressed in that philosophy, and does not, in any way, deserve to compete in, let alone host, the hallowed Olympic Games.
Phil Elder is a senior politicial science major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.