Last night, the official lighting of the Olympic torch for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics was disrupted by activists,
who were protesting either torches, China's human rights record, or both. This disruption follows several weeks of protests in the part of China called Tibet where many are upset over the fact that Tibet is in the part of China called Tibet, and not somewhere else. Depending on whether you ask the Chinese government or someone who isn't lieing, anywhere from 30 to 130 people have already died there, a situation that probably won't improve when
the army is sent in to "crush" them.
Yes, that's the Chinese state paper that said "crush" in reference to protesters, and no, I don't know if the Chinese have a term for "faux pas." Also, Holy s**t.
All of this has re-ignited the debate about whether, given China's long history of human rights "whoopsies," it was a smart idea to award the Olympics to Beijing in the first place, and whether it might be a good idea to boycott the games now. The idea being that any such boycott would in theory be of such embarrassment to China that they'd stop silencing/imprisoning/killing their citizens immediately, or at least feel really bad about it for awhile. And instead of watching the Olympics this August, the rest of the world would focus their attention on some other progressive and pro-human rights endeavor, unless Bono wanted to be involved, in which case we'd probably just do nothing.
One argument against such a boycott is that by doing so we'll be punishing innocent athletes who have nothing to do with China's adorable idiosyncrasies. I do sympathize with the athletes here; devoting years of your life towards the