A story on CNN last Tuesday stated that President Bush has yet to decide which portions of the 2008 Summer Olympics he will attend, if any, leaving many wondering if Bush will boycott the opening ceremony in support of Tibet. This follows several demonstrations around the globe, a show of support for the Tibetan people amidst the alleged violence and fear generated by the Chinese government.
The Olympic torch, which traditionally travels throughout the world in the months prior to the Olympics, has been met with protest so far this year. Protesters in London and in Paris tried to extinguish the torch.
While American demonstrators were largely unsuccessful yesterday-after officials changed the torch's route to elude them-three protesters displayed a large banner from atop the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday, before the torch made its way through the streets of San Francisco.
Tibet officially became a part of the People's Republic of China on May 23, 1951, upon signing the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. Since that time, however, a number of Chinese settlers have entered the province against the wishes of the Tibetan people, creating a pro-Chinese apartheid in the Tibetans' home land-resulting in Tibetan protests and Chinese crackdowns, sparking an international response.
But, really, will these Olympic protests make any difference? Would President Bush boycotting the official opening actually help the Tibetan people?
The demonstrators definitely have a worthy cause. As CNN reports, "China's rule in Tibet has faced its biggest challenge in decades as demonstrations started by [Tibetan] monks in recent weeks exploded into rioting, looting and arson."
The people of Tibet are clearly acting out against the government of China, attempting to gain their independence in any way they can. And the world, it seems, is paying attention this time. While there has been an ongoing support from grassroots campaigns for the state of Tibet to gain its independence from China, never before has there been such a public outcry of support of the region.
When coupled with the fact that Beijing is hosting this year's summer Olympics, the powder keg was bound to explode in protest.
The Olympics are celebrated as the one event where all of the globe can put aside its differences and compete in friendly sporting contests.
So when a nation like China, so enshrouded in scandal, is permitted to host these free-spirited events, an uprising should be expected. Uprisings, however, mean little to governments like China's.
There have been years and years of protests, official meetings and diplomatic talks with the Chinese government to leave Tibet to form their own nation in peace. Clearly these pleas have fallen upon deaf ears.
The Chinese government has maintained and will continue to maintain that they have the right to control the Tibetan region and those living in it. The Dalai Lama cannot do anything about it. The United Nations cannot do anything about it. And protesting the Olympic has no effect, either.
The only solution to the Tibetan problem is for the Tibetan people themselves to rise against the government- they canot be as easily ignored as Western protests. Although a revolt was squashed by the Chinese in 1959, no such massive uprising has occurred since.
The Dalai Lama now calls for a greater autonomy from China but not complete independence. If the Chinese government has ignored all previous rallies, why should the current protesters continue their efforts? It is a waste of funding, a waste of resources, a waste of time.
It is even fruitless for these protestors to expect helpful international support. Why should the Chinese government care if certain heads of state-even our own President Bush-boycott the opening ceremonies?
American diplomats cannot even reach agreements with China on foreign issues like the North Korea nuclear policy, so a symbolic statement made by the President certainly will not bring an "internal affair" any closer to being solved.
The nations of the world are not going to sacrifice possible victories and historical glory in an attempt to solve a crisis which cannot even be solved over the traditional diplomatic channels.
More can be accomplished in the way of foreign policy and global unity by attending the events. The world's countries coming together at the Olympics, despite all their differences and disputes, is a beautiful, honorable idea and should not be shattered to protest the will of a single nation which won't alter its policies either way.,Douglas P. Case