Changing China

Giant on the move

“Sport builds bridges, not walls” – Germany

March 31, 2008

Germans have had an extraordinarily unique perspective on the issue of Olympic boycotts — and what they might or might not accomplish.

Germany is the only country whose competitors missed the 1980 and 1984 Olympics due to boycotts. Germany was reunited in 1990. West Germany joined the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan while Communist East Germany joined the Soviet Union and east bloc allies in boycotting the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

bach.JPGSo it is perhaps worth listening to the views of Germany’s Olympic Committee. In a statement signed by German Olympic Committee (DOSB) president Thomas Bach, the DOSB said it won’t participate in any boycott of the Beijing Olympics in light of the unrest in and around Tibet — because past experience has shown their impact to be limited.

“After carefully considering all the arguments, the DOSB will send its team to the 2008 Olympics,” said the statement signed by Bach that nevertheless condemned the violence in Tibet. “Sport is not a suitable tool to be used to apply political pressure. Sport is not in a position to solve the problems that neither the United Nations nor individual nations were able to resolve despite decades of effort.”

Bach won a gold medal in fencing for West Germany at the 1976 Olympics, when African nations walked out in protest against a New Zealand rugby tour of racially segregated South Africa.  

But he did not get the chance to defend his medal in 1980 when West Germany joined the U.S.-led boycott. In recent weeks many Germans — both east and west of the Iron Curtain that divided Germany during the Cold War — have spoken out against a boycott, saying they are pointless. Even though some political leaders have raised their voice on behalf of a boycott, the DOSB underscored that view that boycotts do not work.  

“That’s been confirmed by all the previous experience. We believe sport is there to promote dialogue and international understanding. Sport builds bridges, not walls.”

Photo: Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB). Photo by Alex Grimm


“That’s been confirmed by all the previous experience. We believe sport is there to promote dialogue and international understanding. Sport builds bridges, not walls.”—-Excellent.

Tibetans are human, they have human rights. Chinese people are also human, they also have human rights. Athletes are human as well, they have human rights as well. Who has the superior “human right” to end athletes’ professional career? Tibetans have the “human right” to win a true and highly autonomy; Chinese people don’t deserve the Olympic Games which they have prepared for 7 years, do they? “Tibet is not free”(BBC news title) is not news. The whole Chine is not free. These are all long-standing issues. Would Chine be free and Tibet have a highly autonomy if a sports meet was boycotted? Several months before the Beijing Olympic Games, such human rights activities seem more like blackmail than true solutions.
“Today, China can no longer be ignored.”(“Playing the Games” by Joshua Kurlantzick). I want to say that ignoring more than 1.3 billion people is irresponsible for the human beings. China is already open and Chinese people keep their eyes opened to the rest of the world: Should the Olympic Games be boycotted if it was in a US city in 2003 when the War of Iraq took place and opposed by almost all of the world? Should the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games be boycotted if there was an Olympic Games in Paris in November 2005 when French government “crack down” the riots in Paris suburb? President Sarkozy should not forget his hardline comments saying the government would not allow “troublemakers, a bunch of hoodlums, think they can do whatever they want”’ (BBC News). Although we have a lot of sympathy to Tibetan people, what happened outside Chinese embassy in Brussels showed that Chinese government should not allow “a bunch of Tibetan troublemakers, think they can do whatever they want”.

Americans enjoy very much their “football” which most people of the world don’t understand. Boycott or not, one out of five of the world’s population can be many enough to play good Games. Compared with Americans, what Chinese people lack is self-confidence. On the way to catch up with “developed countries”, “developing countries” are so sincere and active to participate in any international event because they don’t have enough self-confidence and eagerly seek the recognition from the international community. This encourages some Western people to even more self-confidently believe that they represent justice and boycott can work. Those who, compare Beijing Olympic Games to Berlin Olympic Games in 1936, are too ignorant to understand that Chinese people consider the Games an opportunity to be recognised by the world and to join the international community. That is what Berlin sought in 1936?

Some people from “developed countries”, or the “West”, are too self-confident. They never suspect what they are told, taught and believe in. Whenever they have different opinions from the rest of the world, the reaction spontaneously is: Their brain is washed by their government. Why don’t ask yourself: maybe our brain is washed by our media or our government? People having higher GDP per capita don’t naturally represent human justice and what they see or believe in is not surely more correct than others.

The world needs more communication, more understanding, more compromise and more harmony. Otherwise, self-confidence would become arrogance and ridiculous ignorance.

Posted by Chen | Report as abusive

The voice from common Chinese people

I cited here a comment published in BBC Blog on 28 March to let those arogant Westerners understand commom Chinese people’s feelings:

I am a girl from Guizhou. First, I have to say I can visit the western website, like BBC. Secondly, I want to let you know there are 56 ethnics in China, not only Tibet and Han. Chinese government didn’t treat Tibet different from any other ethnics. Instead, they get more support. For example, Han people can only one child, as you know, however, Miao people and other ethnics can have tow. In my opinion, I can’t understand why some Tibetans were angry with Han and killed some innocent Han. It was wrong to do so, although we know you wanted to have your voice heard all over the world. As for the some western reporters distorted it as a Peaceful protest, I felt very disappointed. It made me fell I am unwelcome to the westerner, because you have very deep bias. So many of my friends said why we should take too much care of what the westerners said, most of who have never been to China. Finally, we have been trying very hard to prepare an excellent Olympic Games, even the people the small town like Leishan are excited. However, because of the Tibet protest, it seemed that many westerners were angry with Chinese. If we knew this early, I prefer there is no Games. And this really hurt and frustrated us, the common Chinese people . Olympic Games is just Sport event, how can it become a tool? How I wish my English would be better or you can understand Chinese, then I can show my feeling clearly. Please let the world become peace, Chinese need it, and the people in the world need it.

Posted by Chinese | Report as abusive


Posted by he | Report as abusive

China has 56 nationalities, and Tibet is one of them since 8 centuries ago. Tibet is one part of China that cannot be divided for ever and never. If you want to say sth. to this event, pls go and get some knowledge of Tibet’s history first! The fact is that Dalai is ruining Tibet and killing innocent people, but not the others. Sport is sport, if anyone who want to use it as its own political tool to achieve his plot, he can only be described as a clown in history for sure.
German are doing the right things. Cuz they clearly know that only one man can tell the truth, that is history!


I would like to see every Athlete wearing a shirt with the sentence “I’me a free person in my country ! Want to know more ? Follow Me !”

Posted by Martins | Report as abusive

Bach, as a German, and we all should recall the 1972 games, rather than the 1980 or 1984 games, as being more historically significant. Remember them not for what German (or all others who also boycotted) athletes could or could not accomplish, but for their linkage to the outside world. Like it or not, the innocence of the olympics has forever been lost – whether for politics or for profit. China, Germany, and all nations need to recognize this – because when the games are tarnished, athletes suffer as humans, not nations.

Posted by john | Report as abusive

I’m really impressed by the stubbornness and stupidity of those calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Have you ever doubted the credibility of your media’s reports? Like the CNN case, do you still believe it’s reporting the truth? In China, when a person did something very stupid, we often say he’s so stupid that when he is sold by someone he even would count money for that person. It seems to me those people advocating a boycott of the Olympics are just the person counting the money. Wise up! Someone is capitalizing on your sympathy and sense of justice. But sarcastically, they do not deserve your sympathy at all! They are politicians outside of China and looters and killers inside China. They pretend to be the victims and easily blinded your eyes. No crackdown at all! The authorities were just doing what they should do and if the riots had happened in your countries, your governments may have taken harsher actions towards those rioters. Be smart! Don’t be a tool of those evil persons!

Posted by Ronan | Report as abusive

Yes, China does have a lot of problems – corruption, pollution, human rights… But every country has its own problems. We’re recognizing ours and trying best to solve them. Please don’t use them as excuse to undermine the rise of China and the spirit of the Olympics.

China’s always a peace loving country. It has opened to the world for last 30 years and has changed dramatically since. That’s why we’re willing to hold the Olympics in the first place – to let the world see the real China and all the changes happened and are happening there.

Tibet was, is and always will be a part of China. Please stop trying to use hate, violence, riots and ‘human rights’ to separate our country and invade Olympics!

Posted by grace | Report as abusive

Calling for 2008 Beijing Olympics

Let the Olympic Torch Shine

Majority of the people in the English-speaking world seemed not knowing much about Chinese History, and its cultural background.

Some basic information, which is facts:-
1. Tibet has always been a part of China over hundreds of years, and was also virtually, a province of China;
2. In China, people speak over a hundred dialects, and Tibetan is only one of them;
3. Chinese nationals could have special cultures over different provinces;
4. All people in China, Tibetan or otherwise have to suffer as a result of the Communists taken over China, the Tibetans were not the only ones.
5. Human rights in China are in control all over the country, and not just Tibet.
6. Riots in Tibet are violent activities that damage the peace and livelihood of all other fellow citizens.
7. Olympic is an activity for world peace and harmony, and those exploited and vandalized it should be condemned.
8. Dalai Lama has exploited Buddhism as a political tool, and this is against Buddhism principals, in particular, destroying peace of mind, and harmony in people.

Celebrities such as PM Rudd, Dawn Fraser, Richard Gear, though have their own right to stand for themselves, should understand what they really represent, unless, they have special political agenda.

I am also victim of China’s Communists, but still feeling broken hearted to see how people blindly hurt themselves to attack the torch, just like terrorists bombers in bombing themselves, both of which are exploited by people with political agenda.

I hope people in the world can understand more about these facts and the vivid truth instead of blindly say something or do something bias and harmful to innocent parties!

Posted by kayying555 | Report as abusive

Entirely agree with Kayying555. Another thing: I started to suspect how many Tibetans in the world and they don’t need to work? How can they follow the Torch relay all the time? Who is behind them? With what kind of political agenda?

I have just got a mail from one friend from London. It proved something I am suspecting. Here it is:
I went to see the torch relay on 4 th of Apr?one of western pro -tibet supporter came to chinese student to ask a bottle of water,They don’t want to give to him. and he said ,come on.Don’t be like that, They said why we have to give to you one? he said. for work! oh oh? it? who is those people? Do they really want to be the free tibet group or they just came for something else? for example,6 pounds per hour like working in supermarket? who knows?

Posted by philippe | Report as abusive

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