Many say that the Olympics are all about international competition and sportsmanship, nothing about politics. Or shouldn’t be.
But you can’t read about the Chinese government’s preparations for the Games without concluding that politics is involved here somewhere.
For one thing, officials have cracked down on beggars and disabled persons, who are being ordered off Beijing streets. Too unsightly, apparently. Also, it seems one of the quaint things Chinese citizens do is walk around in their pajamas in public. This too is outlawed during the Games.
Even dogs are on a tighter leash. Owners may now walk them only at certain times. And the canines better have their papers.
Foreign visitors are prohibited from displaying “religious, political, or racial banners.” Will the government be sending tanks against protesters?
Seven years ago, while bidding to host the Games, China promised that journalists would enjoy “complete freedom to report” — including unfettered access to the Internet. That’s now been tossed out the window, thanks to a recent “negotiation” with the International Olympic Committee. For example, reporters won’t be able to access Amnesty International or websites about Tibet.
Maybe China declared that if the IOC didn’t like the censorship, it could pack up and take the games somewhere else . . . figuring it was too late for the Committee to do anything but relent. But for the sake of freedom in this world, the Committee should have called the bluff.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.