Genocide Olympics. Tibetan protest Olympics. As the world continues to pelt rotten issues at China left and right in the race towards the Summer Games, somehow the stench is coming back at us.
Sure, I get it — the Olympics are a perfect opp for bringing to light the human rights violations within China (Tibet included) and as a proxy of China’s actions (Darfur). But are we going too far in trying to push this country that embraces “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”?
As much as the Western media, such as US outlets CNN, likes to believe we’re “taking the high ground”, I have to wonder if the Chinese have come to another conclusion.
The human rights violations of the US have become too pronounced and too egregious for the Chinese to ignore. Guantanamo. Iraq. Secret CIA prisons. Heck, even the US health care debacle. We are no longer seen as a model of human rights. That makes us less credible and hypocritical in the eyes of the Chinese. What right do we have to denounce China when we can’t fix the current human rights abuses within our own country?
Meanwhile, Western media outlets have ignored the facts — and even ignored the actual situation on the ground. For example, the vast majority of attendees on the torch relay are in fact supporters of China. These events are almost never given balanced coverage in the media reports.
These actions also stoke the nationalistic undercurrents within China. Nationalism generally doesn’t win friends and influence people, and having a China opposed to the West will only mean trouble. In the worst case scenario, it could lead protests that might result in the arrest of Chinese citizens. There are already protests against the French supermarket chain store Carrefour.
Foreigners in China are starting to see some fallout, perhaps as a result of these actions, as visas are harder to secure and obscure regulations on registration are being enforced.
Perhaps what we need now is more of a “Nixon-style” approach. Nixon didn’t open up China with hard rhetoric or exposes or threats. He did it with diplomacy. In his historic visit to this “sleeping giant” of an Asian country, he was able to win the hearts and minds of a people and a leader who had long turned their backs on the evils of Western capitalism. Maybe Nixon realized something we have long forgotten — that every country has its own “skeletons” of abuses and imperfections. Including the US.