Those athletes who have trained diligently for the past year to participate in the Olympics must be feeling awful at the moment. What should have been a proud moment for the torch bearer is now fraught with fear of safety and a sense of uncertainty as throngs of angry activists call for a boycott of the opening ceremony that China has carefully prepared.
Those who feel that China will bow to pressure must not have studied the history of China thoroughly. Perhaps we're in a cultural blind spot. Human rights as conceived by the West is a Western phenomenon. It is part of the Western cultural understanding of human rights which China obviously does not share.
The Tibetans have fought for years for its freedom without success. The Dalai Lama is appealing to the Chinese government not for independence but autonomy but the Chinese government resists vehemently. The Chinese government claims that Tibet is a part of China and belongs under the Chinese leadership.
What we have here is a face-saving game. The Chinese have been insulted by what is happening and this is very serious. Instead of softening up to the Tibetans it would harden its heart. This is not the way and the time. The athletes should be front, left and centre at this time. They have worked hard enough. The governments of the world should engage China through diplomatic and trade channels to get it to shift from its position.
I feel very sad about what is happening. Certainly there are better ways to gain attention over human right violations by countries. Human rights violations occur in varying degrees in most countries of the world if truth be told. However, because of the historical Western cultural hegemony, many developing countries are suspicious when Western countries try to impose their values on those less developed countries. They feel that what the West is doing is trying to gain cultural ascendancy over others. These matters are sensitive and requires skillful negotiation but insulting a great nation like China at this time is not cool.Let the Olympics begin, please