Another Way to Boycott

OlympicsI was following the news out of Paris closely this morning. Organizers cancelled the final leg of the Olympic run through Paris after chaotic protests. They actually put the torch aboard a bus in a humiliating concession to protesters. That made me smile.

The protest, an effort to decry China's human rights record, will now move to San Francisco where three protesters wearing harnesses and helmets have already climbed up the Golden Gate Bridge and tied the Tibetan flag and two banners to its cables. The banners read "One World One Dream. Free Tibet" and "Free Tibet."

Ever since I wrote this entry about the situation in Tibet I've been struggling with this summer's Olympic games. Canada is not going to boycott these games, but perhaps we the consumers of Olympia should. What if we didn't watch the events, didn't follow the games and didn't celebrate the accomplishments?

Our country isn't going to take the lead, but that doesn't mean we as individuals can't send a message that these practises aren't acceptable. Should I ignore Canada's accomplishments in China this summer?


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Comments (9 - click here to join in!)

Jason |

The solution is this:

Pretend the Olympics are The Junos.

Proceed to not watch.

April 7, 2008 @ 4:45 PM


Do you think the Tibet/China thing has only just appeared on the world screen? This clash has been ongoing for years. I think that the time to protest or withdraw was when China was first given the 2008 games. At this point, our athletes have worked hard to qualify for the games and they should not be disappointed.

April 7, 2008 @ 5:33 PM


I couldn't agree more with J9. This is nothing new. The IOC knew of the Tibet situation long before they gave them the games. If people wanted to get up in arms about things, that is when you do it. They could have told China they weren't giving them games because of Tibet, and told them to clean up and come back and apply again in 4 years. Worldwide athletes have worked too long and too hard to turn the Olympics into a political soapbox.

"They actually put the torch aboard a bus in a humiliating concession to protesters. That made me smile."

Himuliating concession indeed. I think it would be more accurate to say they put the flame on a bus because they didn't want the torch bearer to be tackled by the "peaceful" protesters or sprayed in the face with fire extinguishers.

The flame was being carried by Frace's own athletes, some of them paraolympic athletes, and many of them were not able to take part in the torch relay. "On a bus carrying French athletes, one man in a truck suit shed a tear as protesters pelted the vehicle with eggs, bottles and soda cans." There's something to smile about Mike. I'm sorry, but I'm concerned about the unrest in Tibet too, but I think it's disguisting to see protesters perform violent acts to support freedom. If you have a bone to pick with China, fine, but let our athletes bask in Olympic games and not make them feel guilty about going.

April 7, 2008 @ 8:07 PM

Toronto Mike

For better or worse, the Olympics are political. You can't separate the athletics from the world around us.

I'm not condoning violent protests, but the IOC can't have it both ways. They can't have China 2008 celebrated without putting China under the microscope, and they're not ready for their closeup.

April 7, 2008 @ 8:58 PM

Ajax Mike

I've decided that I won't be watching any of the events this year. I'll still feel good when I read in the paper the day after we get a medal, but I won't be seeing any of it live.

I believe the Games were awarded to China as a stimulus of sorts. China had given all sorts of indications that they wanted to become more accepted in the world. The Olympics were awarded to encourage this. So far however, China has fallen miserably short of what it said it would do. I'm not even thinking of Tibet either. As far as I've heard, there are NO changes in China towards allowing more religous, intellectual or personal freedom. We gave them a chance, we hoped for the best. We've been bitterly disappointed.

April 7, 2008 @ 10:34 PM

Toronto Mike

The CBC isn't even sure they'll be allowed to show live feeds of Tiananmen Square during the games. Imagine telling a broadcaster from Canada that they can't report what's happening outside the athletics.

I'm leaning in this direction as well. I won't tune in, but I'll read about Canadian medal winners online and in the paper and I'll acknowledge accomplishments by the Canadian athletes here as I have in the past.

April 8, 2008 @ 8:47 AM

Jason |

Mike, that's a good compromise.

April 8, 2008 @ 10:24 AM

Pete McPhedran

I think peaceful protests are required. I think we should support not only our athletes, but the athletes from every nation in attendance, including Chinese athletes.

Not watching the televised events does nothing, it's like spoiling your vote in an election, no one knows and no one cares. If TV ratings drop because too many people don't tune in, it "might" have an effect on the next Olympics that have yet to negotiate television rights, but China already has their money from the TV rights.

Want to protest? Stop buying Chinese products, especially Chinese Olympic products.

To all the athletes: Show up at the opening ceremonies and then when the last athlete enters the stadium, everyone lay down on the ground. Embarrass the Chinese organizers and get *everyone* to watch the opening ceremonies. I know most countries have warned their athletes not to display Tibetan flags, etc... but they wouldn't see this coming. Peaceful, meaningful, non-violent and unstoppable.

Then don't show up at the medal ceremonies, you'll still get your medal or show up and when the National Anthem is played, you guessed it, lay down.


April 8, 2008 @ 12:25 PM

Toronto Mike

The Olympics is all about money... the CBC paid big money to be the rights holder and they sell advertising space to the big boys.

If we don't watch, the advertisers don't get what they paid for. They don't get our eyeballs. That's something we can do.

I love your idea for the athletes peaceful protest, but it's a pipe dream. I'll read all about it, but I won't be watching.

April 8, 2008 @ 1:25 PM

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