China should clean up its act
Posted April 4, 2008
Since China won the bid to host the upcoming summer Olympic Games in 2001, a number of issues have been raised about the ability of the country to host this prestigious event.

Among the many major issues are concerns about pollution. China has been traditionally known to have heavily congested streets and industrialized cities that have resulted in poor air quality.

As a result, a number of athletes have voiced their concerns and spoken out against competing in such dangerous conditions.

Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia is just one athlete who has voiced his opinion on running in a country with such poor air quality.

Gebrselassie is the world record holder in the men’s marathon and an asthmatic who fears that running the 26.2-mile run will affect his health in a major way.

In response to these concerns, China has set aside days when private vehicles are not allowed to be operated in an attempt to lower emissions during this time.

These athletes are not only concerned with air quality but have even considered bringing in their own food and water during the games.

The quality and types of food available in China vary greatly from others available across the world.

But Beijing officials have advised against anyone bringing their own food to the games, stating that there could be health concerns with bringing outside food into their country.

Above all these issues rests the concern over the continued human rights violations that China has repeatedly been accused of.

It has resisted in changing its practices over the years but may be forced to adapt or modify its beliefs this summer.

On the home front, President Bush is still weighing his options and seeing what other countries do first before he considers a boycott of the opening ceremony.

Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives speaker, believes that the United States should still consider leaving a boycott on the table as she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday.

The Olympics being held in China is the perfect opportunity to bring all of these issues to light. Regardless of China’s attempts to withhold information and deny its crimes against humanity, the Olympics will challenge this country to take a good look at itself.

One example of violating rights in relation to the Olympics is the fact that an estimated 1.25 million people were displaced to make room for the games.

These homes were said to be of the extremely impoverished. Therefore, China cast away these citizens as if they were of no significance.

The Olympics in China have also given way for recent protest and attention of the Tibetan citizens against the country that has oppressed them and violated numerous human rights.

The Uyghur human rights project says it best in stating: “Please be aware that the Olympic Games will be held in a country where there are no elections, no freedom of religion, no independent courts, no independent trade unions, where demonstrations and strikes are prohibited; where torture and discrimination are supported by a sophisticated system of secret police; where the government encourages the violation of human rights and dignity, and is not willing to undertake any of its international obligations.”

Another recent development is the barring of the Chinese government of certain foreign Web sites.

Beijing has been known to block access to many sites but must be able to provide the service to many journalists from across the globe.

By not servicing the world media, China is continuing to fail those trying to serve their Olympic bid while also straining relations with an already shaky infrastructure on certain issues.

China must be able to make adjustments to their policies and be more lenient in their policies in order to come out successful during these games.

If they fall short of that goal, it could leave a lasting impression on International Olympics Committee who may never consider China as a venue for the Games in the future. With so much attention on the Olympics already, China cannot afford anymore negative publicity.

The last thing they want is to be the host country that was terrible in keeping their promise to hold an admirable Olympic Games experience.
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