Ahead of the arrival of the Olympic torch in London this weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has written to Gordon Brown urging him to pull out of the ceremony in the light of China's human rights record.He further quotes the Charter of the Olympics:
He added that he did not believe the Prime Minister could attend the Beijing Games 'in good conscience', unless and until the Chinese Government took steps to 'honour the spirit of the Olympics' in its conduct from Tibet to Darfur.
Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles."This is all to the good, but it's not quite enough. I think Britain should withdraw from the Beijing Olympics altogether. I am sorry for the athletes who have trained for it and everything, but only withdrawal (and trade sanctions) would hit the Chinese government where it hurts the most - in their pockets.
So far the Chinese government's record on human rights has got worse in advance of the Olympics, not better.
- They have cracked down on protests in Tibet [sign Tibet petition];
- imprisoned Hu Jia, human rights activist [sign Hu Jia petition];
- had a general crackdown on human rights activists (Amnesty report);
- rounded up all the cats in Beijing (not just strays but domestic cats) and left them to die slowly in tiny cages [sign cat petition];
- sentenced a businessman to death for allegedly spying for Taiwan;
- arrested a Christian bookshop owner (December 2007); part of an ongoing campaign. (I am as irritated by Christian evangelism as the next person, but there's no need to torture and kill them.)