Sunday, February 24, 2008

Double standards and full of hypocrisy in the Dream for Darfur anti-China Campaign

By China Watcher

The people who are involved in the crusade against the Chinese staging of the Beijing Olympic Games is essentially a New York based group known as Dream for Darfur. It is led by a person by the name of Jill Savitt, a former Human Rights activist and her international team. The group is supported by the American Jewish World Service and the Massachusetts Coalition to save Dafur, just to name a few.

They are using the Beijing Olympics Games as leverage to force China, who is perceived to have special influence with Sudan to end the Dafur crisis. According to this group, there are more than 200,000 deaths and 2.5 million displaced since 2003 in Dafur and they believed very strongly that China is the only country who is able to use its influence to allow an international force of peacekeepers into the poverty stricken region.

The latest publicized salvo it has created was the resignation of one of Hollywood's finest directors, Mr. Steven Spielberg from the Olympics due to the application of intense psychological "guilt" tactics by this group. The next step of this group is to increase the pressure on China by calling all Western based Olympics sponsors to pull out of its support for the August Games they termed as “Genocide Olympics”.

Human Rights Watch and other rights activists conveniently jumped onto the boycott bandwagon with this given opportunity to criticize China for its claimed despicable human rights by western standards and the suppression of Tibetan dissidents with a call for a Free Tibet. So the anti-China protest has actually widened to cover other areas in which the Chinese had international territorial recognition like Tibet and Taiwan. This is nothing new and it is not difficult to see such a ploy by the West and its media to achieve their underlying objectives.

The Chinese appointed envoy to Dafur, Mr. Liu Guijin mentioned in an interview that he was taken by surprise by the resignation of Mr. Spielberg of his involvement in the Olympics whom he has met last year. During the meeting, he mentioned that Mr. Spielberg has been given an offer as an artistic director on the advisory panel for the opening ceremony, the deadline to accept the offer was May 10 last year which has since lapsed. On that knowledge alone, he was wondering how Mr. Spielberg could resign when the offer was not accepted in the first place. He however told the media that the Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee was very keen to have Mr. Spielberg on the advisory board and could have extended the deadline due to his commanding international presence to raise the image and success of the Olympics.

On Sunday 24 February 2008, Mr.Liu’s told the media in Khartoum that China is committed to solving the Darfur issue by helping Sudan achieve stability and development and not seeking expediency from the issue. The Chinese envoy also appealed for further international support for the United Nations and the African Union (AU) -- the other two important players of a tripartite mechanism that also includes Sudan - in solving the Darfur issue

According to him, the U.N. Security Council in July 2007 authorized the deployment a U.N.- African Union hybrid force in Darfur, which would comprise 20,000 troops and more than 6,000 police and civilian staff in due course. Until now, there are only about 9,000 uniformed personnel on the ground, including 7,000 troops and 1,200 police who had been serving with the AU force. He told BBC recently that Beijing arms sale accounted for only 8% of Sudan total arms import and that countries like US, Russia and UK were the biggest arms exporters when compared to China on the Western media allegations that Chinese weapons were used in the killings.

In bidding for the Games in 2001, China promised IOC members that the Olympics would lead to an improved climate for human rights, but most independent monitoring groups say Beijing has failed to live up to that pledge. What standards of criteria are these groups using to judge China?

By comparison, China has actually raised the standard of living of its people and provides job opportunities for its residents and the Olympics is perhaps a good way for China to integrate into a global society where the West also hope to rope in the potential superpower to shoulder more responsibility for global efforts leading to peace. At this moment, the international political and economic scenes are still very much dictated by Western nations.

And I believe that when China won the bid in 2001, most of the countries which voted for China were not from the West but mostly from the developing world. The Western grouping of nations with its so called democracy standards was the main reason why China’s bid for year 2000's Olympics in 1993 was lost to Sydney, Australia. The West has to learn to accept that the growing force in the world will one day belong to Asia and the emerging economies of Brazil, Russian, India and China and no longer United Kingdom, France, Germany or even Japan. In 30 years, the US and European Union may be the two standing spheres of influence from the West.

I am also questioning the double standards in these Western activists method of tackling the issue of worldwide large scale human sufferings when the same group of human rights never shed a tear about millions of Rwandans and Congolese killed in the many conflicts since 1990. From historical records, it was stated that an estimated 10 million lives were lost at a rate of 45,000 per month in Eastern Congo during the peak of the problem. And the main Western official media remain silent to this day. Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders were accomplices to the modern day genocide by not lifting a finger when the situations demanded while the New York-based Human Rights Watch has been actively conducting the campaign of lies that hides the true extent of the real genocide in Central Africa.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Chinese government that to link the Darfur issue to the Olympics is clearly a move to politicize the Olympics which is inconsistent with the Olympic spirit of competitiveness and winning friends throughout the world.

From a press report we gathered that Adidas is committed to spending US$200 million for sponsorship rights and claimed that they do not have much political leverage to press China on the Dafur crisis. Visa, Coca Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft, Volkswagen and others ignored these political activists’ demands and have told the Organizing Committee that they will continue to sponsor the Olympics this summer. The grading techniques used by the Dafur activists on the corporate sponsors are beyond comprehension and child-like and we believe, once again, that it will have no bearing on the sponsorship program. Anyway, there are many non Western corporations who are waiting earnestly to take up the sponsorship should the Western corporations withdrawal take place. Overseas Chinese guilds and associations have donated large sums of money for the staging of this prestigious sports event and have expressed support of the Games.

Analysts warn that there are limits to the pressured strategies taken by the political activists on China. With or without Olympics, there is a lot of economic stakes in Sudan for the Chinese and they have already cooperated in whatever ways they could with the international parties, short of the ultimate agenda of these activists which is a complete withdrawal of support for the Sudanese government, which I think China would unlikely and should not do so.

If there is really a boycott of the Beijing Olympics by the West which brings us to the important question of who will stand to lose more – China, the trained athletics or the sports fan.

No comments: