Flame Out: China’s Communists Must Not be Legitimated As The Nazi Regime Was as the Host of Olympic Games

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(Washington, D.C.): In a little over a week the International Olympic Committee will make its final decision on the site of the 2008 Olympic Games. The Bush Administration has said it intends to remain “neutral” on the question of whether the current frontrunner, Communist China, gets to host these events. This would be a mistake on both moral and strategic grounds.

As the following two op.ed. articles — which appeared in today’s Washington Times — make clear, granting China the privilege of hosting the Olympics, and all the attendant political benefits and commercial opportunities, would be worse than a betrayal of those who have long struggled against the PRC’s ruthless brand of communist tyranny. It would also confer upon one of the planet’s most odious regimes a windfall not seen by a totalitarian government since 1936 when Leni Riefenstahl helped Adolf Hitler stage-manage and disseminate images of the Munich Olympics glorifying Naziism in her film, “Triumph of the Will.”

The United States must not be party to the desecration of Tiananmen Square; the American flag must not be paraded by U.S. Olympians in China until that long-suffering nation enjoys the freedom for which thousands of Chinese died in Tiananmen at the hands of the same Communist despots now desperately hoping to secure the Games for the PRC. The U.S. Congress should accordingly weigh in by adopting a resolution offered by Reps. Chris Cox (R- CA) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) that would put the United States squarely on record in opposition to the PRC’s attempts to tarnish the Olympic Games.

Olympic-sized Victory

By Michelle Malkin

The Washington Times, 2 July 2001

Picture this: Beneath a towering portrait of Chairman Mao, brutal Chinese dictators bask in the warm glow of international good will as the world’s top volleyball players romp across imported sand spread over Tiananmen Square the same bloodied site where government troops massacred peaceful pro-democracy protesters in 1989.

That’s the twisted vision of the butchers of Beijing. And it could come true in just two weeks. The International Olympic Committee will choose the site of the 2008 games on July 13. China is considered the front-runner. This totalitarian regime will do anything to win, and we Americans are standing on the sidelines saying and doing nothing to stop them.

It is hard to remain neutral about the thought of bikini-clad competitors high-fiving in the communist plaza where military tanks mowed down young Chinese students carrying replicas of our Lady Liberty. But neutrality is the official stand the Bush administration took this week. “We decided not to decide,” said Richard A. Boucher, State Department spokesman. Chinese President Jiang Zemin no doubt did some high-fiving himself when he heard the news.

How can we remain neutral — uninvolved — about China’s bid for Olympic glory while religious minorities such as the Falun Gong are persecuted, repressed and tortured with cattle prods?

How can we remain neutral while dissenting journalists are shut down, Internet cafes are raided and government critics have their tongues cut off?

How can we remain neutral while the Chinese government continues to operate slave labor camps in open defiance of international laws?

How can we remain neutral about rewarding China while government-sponsored infanticide, forced abortions and a coercive one-child policy continue to strike terror in the hearts of Chinese parents?

How can we remain neutral about a country that tried to subvert our election system and continues a campaign of military aggression in Asia? Just this week, The Washington Times’ Bill Gertz reports, Chinese warships menaced the Spratly island chain near the Philippines. Chinese military occupation of the Spratlys is part of Beijing’s strategy of expanding its empire.

And how can we remain neutral about Beijing’s Olympic aspirations while its leaders hold more than 30 U.S. citizens in Chinese prisons, as well as a growing number of Chinese-born scholars who are permanent U.S. residents and have children who are U.S. citizens?

These hostages are being detained by the Ministry of State Security on trumped-up charges of espionage and have been denied any semblance of due process. This column reported in March on one of those prisoners, American University professor Gao Zhan, who hasn’t been seen or heard from by her husband and 5-year-old, American-born son Andrew in four months. The family had been on vacation in China and was preparing to return to the United States when a group of 15 Beijing secret police in plain clothes swarmed Andrew and his parents at the airport.

“It was very, very scary,” Mr. Xue, who was released with his son earlier this spring, told me. “We were approaching the check-in counter, just waiting in line, when they took all three of us by surprise.” The boy was taken to a state-run “kindergarten,” where his “caretakers” refused to let him speak to his parents or grandparents for 26 days. The Wall Street Journal’s Claudia Rosett has publicized the cases of three other American-based Chinese scholars who vanished this year under similar circumstances.

How can we remain neutral while the Chinese laugh off concerns about the human rights of their people and ours, and in the same breath argue that giving the Olympics to Beijing will provide an incentive for them to change their ways? If three decades of economic liberalization and free trade with us haven’t worked, who really believes a candy-coated Olympics (replete with forced smiles and fake beaches and dead grass painted green for show) will break China’s chains?

Whether China wins or loses its Olympic bid, it can already claim victory. Neutrality in the face of totalitarianism is condonation clothed in diplomatic cowardice.

Disturbing Echoes of 1936

By Nat Hentoff

The Washington Times, 2 July 2001

Very soon, an international committee, meeting in Moscow, will decide which country will have the prestige of hosting the summer Olympic Games in 2008. Right now, in Congress, there is a resolution introduced by Tom Lantos and Christopher Cox opposing the selection of that nation of prison camps for peaceful dissenters.

Their resolution reminds their colleagues and the rest of us that when Adolf Hitler presided over the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, the New York Times reported: “Olympics leave glow of pride in the Reich . . . A piece of perfect German pageantry . . . Visitors gain a good impression.”

As part of this Olympics bid to distract attention from the Chinese government’s remorseless persecution of people of religious faith and other prisoners of conscience in its gulags, the China National Tourist Administration paid for a splendidly illustrated 12-page insert in the June 10 New York Times Sunday magazine. The ad was titled “Discover China in the New Century . . . an ever-evolving new China.”

This lavish ad did not, of course, include a May 25 letter to China’s ambassador to the United States from Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. As reported by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Mr. Law cited the Chinese government’s “marked increase in the number and severity of actions against many of our fellow Catholics, as well as against other religious believers. We have in the past registered our concerns with your embassy, unfortunately, without the courtesy of a reply.”

The Embassy of China has sent a letter to members of Congress attacking the Lantos-Cox resolution on the 2008 Olympics. The letter charges that “any attempt to deny China’s right to host the Games is a challenge to the universal principle of human rights.”

Would that George Orwell were alive to savor this peerless piece of shameless hypocrisy!

Consider this illustration of China’s devotion to human rights: Free Church for China reports that in April alone, five priests were arrested and imprisoned in laogai (gulags), along with 13 underground Catholic laypersons. And 79-year-old Bishop Shi Enxiang was arrested on Good Friday. The charge against all of them: refusing obeisance to the state-controlled church.

And as readers of the New York Times Sunday magazine section were treated to photographs of pandas and luxury hotels beckoning to them from “the new China,” there was a message they did not see from Christians worshiping in perilous secrecy: “The persecution here has never ceased. We need the U.S. efforts to continue to investigate and let the outside world know the real situation in China.”

Amnesty International reports that “torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience of all kinds continues to be widespread” in China.

A desperate cry for attention also comes from Chinese-occupied Tibet. An exiled Tibetan Buddhist monk, imprisoned for 24 years because he would not renounce the Dalai Lama, says, “Life in Tibet is a total disaster, and we are in need of help.”

In considering the Lantos-Cox resolution against having the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Congress should also keep in mind the suffering of the more than 10,000 Falun Gong members now in Chinese prisons. According to a New York Times report on April 26, more than 100 of them have died in custody.

As of this writing, the House International Relations Committee has solidly approved the Lantos-Cox resolution by a 26-8 vote. But the House Republican leadership has taken no action on it so far, and it has not scheduled a debate on the floor. Are the Republican leaders there afraid of so offending China that profits from trade will be jeopardized while Christians and others are being tortured?

The International Olympics Committee will make its decision on July 13. If the Olympic Games are held in Beijing, will we send our athletes? And if one of them breaks stride to pray publicly for imprisoned Chinese people of faith, will he or she be dropped from the team, just as Jewish athletes were cut from the American Olympic team in Berlin in 1936 as Hitler watched?

It is not too late, in any case, for President George W. Bush to look into his heart and his faith and imagine the Olympic Games taking place while thousands and thousands of prisoners suffer and are beaten in their cells not only Christian prisoners, but also those imprisoned simply for advocating democracy.

We shamed ourselves in 1936. Do we want to leave “a glow of pride” among the commanders of the prison labor camps in China in 2008?

Nat Hentoff is a columnist for The Washington Times. His column runs on Mondays.

Center for Security Policy

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