The Olympic games have always been recognized symbolically as a global event that allows countries to peacefully come together in friendly competition.

The host country is highlighted throughout the event as a globally respected community, full of diversity and maintaining a way of life for all to aspire to.

To be selected by the Olympic Committee to be the host country is considered an honour.

And starting August 8, the country that all will be looking at as a respected global society is China.

China? Respected? As far as China’s track record for human rights is concerned, respected should not be the term used to define China. As a matter of fact, the actions of the Chinese government are contradictory to the meaning of the games themselves.

Now, these games, which are supposed promote world peace despite cultural differences, are being held in a country where the government has enough trouble accepting their own female population, let alone people of other races.

This is a country that has thrown more than 400 000 children ages 12 to 16 into a school system where intense and dangerous manual labour in manufacturing and agricultural schemes is viewed as the ideal way of raising and educating the youth.

It’s a country that prides itself on restricting public opinion by limiting the voice of journalists, threatening long jail sentences for speaking against the national government. It limits the general knowledge of the world, restricting the nation’s Internet access so people may not learn that the outside world is better and different from the reality they experience in China.

And China is ruled by a repressive government, which has complete control over the legal system and controls its people with an iron fist. It gives its workers no individual freedoms by prohibiting unions and physically attacking those who want civil liberties.

It’s a government that has taken an often violent stance against the country of Tibet, destroying their villages, burning down their places of meditation and devastating their ecosystem by turning Tibet into China’s dump. It blames the fall of society in China on Tibetan Buddhism and their leader, the Dalai Lama, who has to live in exile.

This is not the one place in the world right now that should have the entire globe’s attention. For an event that promotes world peace to be held in a country which enforces its dictates by gunpoint, this is one that no one should celebrate.

So, instead of watching the Olympics, go outside and play a sport with your friends or family. Enjoy the many freedoms that we hold in Canada. And know that whatever sport you are playing is supporting the Olympic spirit more than the events that are occurring in Beijing.

From Bancroft This Week

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