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Buddhism in the News


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Boycott the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Plus an Update on Burma.

WARNING: This video contains images that might be disturbing to some viewers.


I was greatly disappointed in the International Olympic Committee when it announced that it was selecting Beijing, China to host the 2008 summer Olympic games. I enjoy watching the world come together in seeing the best of the best compete, however, I do not like the idea that this will come at the expense of oppression, torture and other human rights violations.

My first solution would be to move the games elsewhere and I think that could still be accomplished despite this late date. For example, the IOC would select a city that has already hosted the games and thus already has the infrastructure/venues built to accommodate such a gathering.

The less desirable and more drastic solution would be to cancel the games and wait for the next year and city to emerge.

In other words, something MUST BE DONE. We can not let this injustice go forward any longer.

I do not believe that boycotting the Olympics is radical, absurd or over-zealous. It is a question of our humanity. That is to say, what is more important, sports/entertainment/money or human rights, morality and standing up against repression and helping to reduce suffering in the world? Is it really too much to ask us to forgo a sporting event to to satisfy our senses in order to send the message that the world does not support human rights violations? If so, then I would submit that we must really reassess our values as a people.

And here in America we are buying Chinese products that often contain the toxic element of lead. I am ashamed that my country is buying products from China at all since it is most likely that they are all made in factories where the workers have no rights and are basically slave laborers. As well as made in environments/industries that aren't regulated for safety.

In granting China the right to host the Olympics the world is basically rewarding them for using violence, repression, religious intolerance, censorship, the death penalty, lack of legal representation and the invasion of a sovereign country, Tibet.

And as the video states, China is selling guns to the repressive and brutal government in Sudan that is killing masses of people in Darfur. As well as buying oil from Sudan which is putting money in the coffers of the killers. Are you o.k. with supporting a country that basically supports genocide?

And now, there is the horrific situation in Burma and China isn't lifting a finger to put pressure on the junta in any significant actions. Why should they? They are getting away with crimes against humanity themselves so why should they feel the pressure to force the military dictatorship in Burma to stop it's violent suppression of any expression of freedom?

The Olympics own charter states: "respect for universal fundamental ethical principles" and its goal of promoting "a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity." The profoundly sad irony is that the above two points listed in the Olympic charter are located on the Official website for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

It is for all these reasons and more that I am adding my voice to the boycott Beijing movement, will you join me?


First Lady of the United States of America (wife of the President) speaks out on Burma. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE. If you agree with her statements then I urge you to send her office an email to thank her for her support. Here is the general email address to the White House where she lives/works:

CLICK HERE to read a letter to China signed by 20 former Presidents and Prime Ministers. It's a PDF file.

If you'd like to send a message to the Beijing organizers, here is an email address that you can use:

~Peace to all beings~

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The Olympics Blogger said...

Your argument that human rights is more important than any mere sporting event is correct... IF you can find any relation between the Burma incidences and the Olympics sports... Would you even think of Boycotting the Olympics if it were held in a different country next year? I don't think so... If that's the case maybe a better alternative is Boycotting China, boycott trade with China, Boycott buying their goods... BUT leave the Olympics alone because it is inappropriate for anybody to use the Olympics as leverage to force anybody. Unfair for the Olympics, Unfair for the sports fans and especially unfair for the athletes. Come to think of it, Boycotting the Olympics is also taking away their human rights...

PeterAtLarge said...

This is a passionate argument, James. While endorsing everything you have to say, I myself admit to some ambivalence about a boycott. Is there not some possibility that the event will help to bring about the changes that are needed--and which will only come slowly anyway, no matter what anyone in the outside world may do? Inclusion can sometimes be more effective than inclusion. A hug can do more than a cold shoulder... Just a contrarian thought. Cheers to you...

PeterAtLarge said...

I mean, of course, that inclusion can be more effective than EX-clusion. Forgive the typo.

They call him James Ure said...

Olympics Blogger and Peter:

I can see points on both sides of the spectrum. I'm just frustrated over China's abuses and am looking for ways to resist that.

Greenwoman said...

I'm with you on this issue. Blessings!!!

They call him James Ure said...


Yeah, it just seems that sports should take a backseat to human rights issues every time.

If we allow them to go forward with the games then it just seems to me that we are rewarding bad behavior.

I feel that China will only try to get away with more shady deals in the future. Why should they change if we keep giving them whatever they desire?

It's like a child that keeps pushing the limits and we are the soft parents who are afraid to stand up to them and risk them not liking us.

I believe in engaged Buddhism and that we can be loving and political at the same time. Being compassionate and accepting is one thing but I also do not think that we should just be a rug and let them walk all over the rest of the world.

The Chinese are basically stealing from their own people, making them work in horrible conditions, taking advantage of them. Making money on their backs.

I don't think that Buddhist monks living in a monastery would let a novice monk get away with stealing and abusing the other monks.

They discipline sometimes in monasteries and you can do it without malice in your heart or through violence.

Now, I'm not the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh or Ajahn Chah or any other holy person. I say that because I DO have some anger in my heart towards the Chinese dictators right now. However, I'm working constantly on letting it go and basing my protest on love instead of anger.

That being said, my main goal speaking out like this is to help the Chinese move away from gaining bad karma through using oppression.

And I personally feel that the best way to do that is to give them a reason to change and that often means withholding a privilege. And that is what the Olympics should be, a privilege.

pereldan said...

In previous years, the committee has stated that they had chosen a controversial country to host the Olympics because of having the focus of most of the world on the actions of the host country during preparations leading up to the games, and during the games....It's a lot harder to violate the rights of your citizens when the entire world is paying attention to everything you do.....

Anonymous said...

By boycotting the Olympics, you'll cripple the Chinese economy. Who'll suffer? The leaders?

Obvious the Chinese people. Who'll they turn to? The CCP will use this, to spin it into an example of foreign agression, of foreign hatred against China, of racism. And they'll be right, a little. Right enough for the Chinese to believe in. Instead of a rapid rise of a developing stable nation, China will grow more slowly but hold resentment towards the West. Nice job.

You talk of world peace, you talk of freedom, you talk about human rights and democracy. As a Chinese, I personally don't care. But I care about my poor countrymen, and with those little words of yours, little thoughtless words like cigarette smoke in a nursery, you steal even the bread crumbs from their hands.

Well, they're COMMUNIST bread crumbs, but still.

dharma::vision by Amadeus said...

Gee Golly. I come over hear to see the comments on the Olympics boycott and looks like alot of Olympic promoters are up in a tizzy. Oh well, what can you do?

I won't comment too much on the merits of competition with regard to the Olympics, but I see the logic in people boycotting it. Most especially with their deafening silence over the situation in Burma.

It really depends on who you speak to. Some people are against boycotts of this nature while others say it is the thing to do. In reality with the rate of growth in the Chinese ecomony, I seriouly doubt a boycott of the games would have much impact if any on China's economy. It would at the very least send a message, while allowing "Olympic Blogger" to still cash in with her "call center" (whatever that is), memorabilia, and "cheap travel" schemes. With a few breadcrumbs left over for anonymous' poor countrymen.


krista said...

Just wanted to share this link with you in case you hadn't seen it:

They call him James Ure said...


China is creating more suffering on a daily basis then a boycott could ever do.

As Amadeus said, I doubt that the economy will suffer much by a boycott and even without a boycott, how much of that money do you think the average person will gain? Not much I doubt given the tight control the Communist regime has over the economy.

You say that you don't care about democracy, human rights, freedom and world peace but rather just care about your countrymen. I do not understand how not caring whether or not your country men are free and safe from human rights abuses is "caring for your poor country men."

It seems obvious to me that if you truly did care about your country men that you would want them to be free from human rights abuses and tight government control. The best way to improve the lives of the down-trodden is to have freedom.

That way they can enjoy all the protections of a democracy and therefore flourish more then if they stayed under the thumb of oppression. Speaking out against the human rights abuses and for freedom of the Chinese people will do more to bringing about a democracy then the Olympics ever will.

How am I stealing bread crumbs from the Chinese people when by boycotting the games I am pointing out who the real thieves are, the Chinese dictatorship. They steal from the people with breath-taking ease and on a massive level. Such stealing more then dwarfs any amount of money the Chinese people might stand to gain from hosting the Olympics.

And at the end of the day, at the close of the Olympics, who will continue to be abused and robbed?

The average Chinese worker.

Of course we want to praise the regime when they act responsibly but we have given too much I think.

Our policy is lopsided and now the Chinese dictatorship thinks that they can get away with anything because we just keep rewarding them with perks over and over. There needs to be a balanced approach and this time that means preventing them from having the Olympics. At some point you have to say no to bad behavior, not continue to reward it.

You don't end a dictatorship by awarding them with unlimited privileges. You end a brutal regime by denying them the benefits that they would gain by switching over to freedom and democracy.

Indeed Buddhism is about peace and reducing suffering and sometimes that means engagement. A boycott is a non-violent means to protest suffering on a massive scale.

It is my opinion that rewarding those we cause great suffering for others is unskillful. We must speak out against suffering no matter how uncomfortable, difficult or awkward it may be.


Unfortunately the Olympics is only a snapshot in time and once the games are over the regime will go back to it's old patterns of behavior. And besides, the spotlight has been on them for years and they haven't changed much at all.

I highly doubt that shining the spotlight on the games will cause the dictatorship to have a sudden and sweeping change of heart.

A boycott on the other hand sends the message that yes, we are watching AND we are doing something about it by denying you the privilege, not right, to host the games that are supposed to represent equality which is something the Chinese Communist Party does NOT practice.

The Olympics Blogger said...

Any updates about the boycott campaign?

Caoimhin said...

Will you join our campaign?

They call him James Ure said...


Yes, I'd like to. How do I go about doing that?

Anonymous said...

Dalai Lama doesn't give a shit about Tibet, since he is always everywhere else instead where he should be, thats in Tibet. He is the same racist asshole like bush is, after all this buddhist racistic propaganda against china started after bush & lama meet few times in usa.
Vietnam, Iraq, cuba crisis, usa vs. russia cold war...etc.. nothing of this was started by communism. All over again by extremistic racistic religionists.
Don't you have nothing better to do than screw around with other people ? Do you really think that hate is a ticket to heaven ?

They call him James Ure said...


It sounds like you work for the propaganda wing of the Chinese Communist Party.

Your propaganda does not work outside China where we have the freedom to know the truth.

Don said...


May I suggest a link related to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Our site:

Title: Beijing Olympics

Please let me know if you want a link back.
Many thanks for your reply.

Best Regards,


Don said...


May I suggest a link related to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Our site:

Title: Beijing Olympics

Please let me know if you want a link back.
Many thanks for your reply.

Best Regards,


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