March 25, 2008

The China Experiment

Matthew Continetti

In July 2001, when the International Olympics Committee (IOC) awarded the 2008 summer games to Beijing, the international community began a thought-experiment. Wouldn't holding the games in China give the world's democracies "leverage" over that country's Communist dictatorship? Wouldn't the increased media attention and "scrutiny" force Beijing to relax its security apparatus and increase civil liberties? Wouldn't the Olympics be just another elevation in China's "peaceful rise" to "responsible stakeholder," great-power status?

Seven years later, we have our answer. It is a resounding "No." Over the last couple of weeks, riots have broken out in Tibet and surrounding areas and been suppressed by brute force. The State Department's annual report on human rights details an uptick in China's already dismal practices. A prominent Chinese dissident has been put on trial in Beijing on charges of subverting state power. The hypothesis that hosting the Olympics would mellow Beijing's ruthlessness has been proved false. The experiment has failed.

Here's a story on the French attempt to generate some form of Olympic boycott. Here's more from The Independent.

UPDATE 3/25: Anne Applebaum: The Olympics are the perfect place for a protest.

Posted by dan at March 25, 2008 1:58 AM