"Olympolitics" matter (Tibetan focus)
Featured images taken by myself at the Human Rights Torch Relay rally at the University of Minnesota in April 2008
Be warned: I am in support of boycotting the 2008 Olympics in Beijing for human rights abuses, and though there are multiple areas I could elaborate on, my focus will be on the persecution of the Tibetan people.
*(This is a re-write of the second blog prompt. I deleted the first one since it wasn't any good, and this ties in much better to my work in Arch 1701)
Before reading what I have to say, take a crack at researching about China and some of the human rights abuses documented there. Any Google search about them, and the controversies over the 2008 Beijing Olympics, can be easily found.
There are some pretty graphic pictures posted on the site if you look under 'News and Media'...I would post some of the more horrific/bloody images, but I don't know if it would be pushing it. Here are some photos here of victims from Kirti Monastery.
This is a posting that I've decided to write because my primary influence in learning about this issue is from my Millennium Development Project; It concerns the Human Rights violations in Tibet, and the controversy of that (mixed with many other issues) that are causing people to boycott the upcoming Olympics.
My Millennium Development Project for ARCH 1701 is concentrated on the architectural response to the extreme poverty and hunger in Beijing and the surrounding provinces; were this not the case, I would have an even smaller understanding of the economic and political issues than I do now.
I was at a protest today against the 2008 Beijing Olympics outside of Coffman...and I actually learned enough to take a side on an issue and push for what I believe in! Tibetans were the main protesters, along with some people involved with the local Twin Cities governments, and they faced opposition from Chinese who took offense at the slamming of China. The Tibetans were protesting China and the Olympics for the human rights abuses on certain minority groups (clearly with Tibet being an area of prosecution), and they simply wanted to raise awareness for governmental violence. The gathering was originally them setting up booths to raise awareness, but an even larger group came to protest against them.
To me, this is a no-brainer. With undeniable evidence that the Tibetans have and are under harsh treatment from the Chinese government, they have every right to try and protest this. The protesters seemed furious at them at the rally, and their main argument on the opposing side was that politics shouldn't be brought into the Olympics, especially when China is in such an important state of development.
Anywhere in the US, if people protested against human rights violations made by our government, people would accept, expect, and support that generally. The protesters were genuinely angry, though, and were shouting things like "lies!" and "fakers!" to the Tibetans. I was laughing at some of the comments the people on the Chinese side were saying to the crowd I was in, like "have YOU ever actually been to Tibet?!", since my side immediately replied with "have YOU!?" The crowd on my side was on the smaller side, but it was diverse in people of different races and ages. The other side was entirely Chinese, with the majority of them students and a few adults. I couldn't help but notice how passive-aggressive the anti-Olympics side was compared to the other, and how civil it was in not starting arguments (though they certainly had some comebacks when they were verbally attacked).
I don't know a whole lot about this issue, but Tibet is technically a part of China, and has on a few occasions over the past century to separate from the state for arguments of persecution and for being so secular. The Dali Lama, who is head of what is known as the government of Tibet in Exile, which is under attack from the state for disrupting the peace (heavy, heavy crackdown). But they try their best to work on their own independently of the Chinese government, and claim that China is silencing their voices from the rest of the world on the abuses the government has done and is doing to Tibetan people.
Afterwards, I was walking away, and a woman from the Chinese side offered me a pamphlet on why bringing in politics into the Olympics was wrong. I turned her down and said "no thanks", and held up the pamphlet that went against what she was advocating; this is HUGE for me. Really, it is, since I'm never able to say "no" to anyone, and it may have been the first time I've turned down (bluntly and quickly) a solicitor.
The group that was here on campus was the Human Rights Torch Relay (this is a good site), a world wide NPO that is mainly focusing on the events in China and how it is unacceptable for the Olympics to co-exist with them there.
Anyways, again I just wanted to write to show support for those who are going to boycott the Olympics this year, and to possible give a little awareness to the situation. If not awareness, hopefully an incentive to try to be, though I know that my own blog post here is naive and covers next to nothing about the issues going on.