An Open Letter to the International Olympic Committee Regarding China
By Andrew Bernstein (Montreal Gazette, July 7, 2001; National Post and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 11, 2001)
Dear International Olympic Committee:
On July 13 in Moscow you will meet to determine which of five cities will host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Beijing is one of those under consideration. Clearly, playing host to such elite athletes is a supreme honor, and any country welcoming them should be worthy of it. As you research where to hold these games, here are some facts about China's current Communist regime that may help you decide if this country is an appropriate host.
Are you aware that China currently contains a network of slave labor camps that dwarfs the notorious "gulag archipelago" of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin? Harry Wu, the internationally known author and human rights activist, who survived 19 years of forced labor in Chinese camps for the crime of being a "rightist," points out that such camps or laogai hold between 4 and 6 million prisoners. Many of these slaves are political and/or religious dissidents, held without due process, whose only transgression is holding convictions opposed to those of their Communist rulers.
Indiana state representative Jim Atterholt recently referred to China's political leaders as the "Butchers of Beijing," a phrase that is tragically apt. In The Black Book of Communism, a 1999 Harvard University Press release, socialist researchers establish that Mao Zedong and his successors murdered 65 million Chinese. This number is based on recently opened archives in former Communist countries.
The massacre of pro-freedom activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989--and the ongoing persecution of Christians and other religious denominations such as the Falun Gong--are internationally known. And, not content with enslaving and slaughtering their own people, China's Communist leaders supported the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, brutally conquered Tibet and threatened Taiwan with the same fate. But it is the ghastly "dying rooms" of China's orphanages and other state institutions that most vividly expose the moral bankruptcy of China's rulers.
Abandonment of children increased dramatically in China in the 1980s, because of China's law that mandated a one-child maximum per family. Those who broke this law faced heavy fines and/or forced abortion or sterilization. A BBC television documentary, "Return to the Dying Rooms," showed that these abandoned children--mostly healthy girls--were and are shunted into the state orphanages by the tens of thousands, where they are deliberately and systematically starved to death by Chinese authorities.
Medical records and testimony obtained by Human Rights Watch/Asia show that official policy in these institutions is one of nutritional and medical neglect with the intent of inducing death. Child mortality in China's most prestigious orphanage, the Shanghai Children's Welfare Institute, was 90 percent in the late 1980s and 1990s. Pictures are available at www.oneworld.org/news/partner_news/dyingrooms_top.html, if you have the stomach for the sight of starved children's corpses.
China's Communist government contradicts Baron de Coubertin's purpose in creating the Modern Olympic Games as an arena in which outstanding individuals could strive for excellence, moral, as well as athletic. A firm believer in the rights of the individual, he said: "The Olympiads have been re-established for the rare and solemn glorification of the individual athlete . . ." This cannot be achieved in a totalitarian state in which an individual has no rights--a nightmarish hell in which he is not glorified but persecuted.
The Olympics at their best stand for man's quest for athletic excellence in a context of international goodwill. The only countries who should compete in or host an Olympic Games are those who protect the rights of their own citizens and do not commit aggression against foreign countries. Despite its recent propaganda proclaiming openness and increased freedom, China remains a brutal dictatorship and fails to qualify.
It is a huge propaganda victory for a totalitarian state if the civilized countries deem it worthy of the honor of hosting the Olympics. "In allowing China to host the Games, the International Olympic Committee would be legitimizing Beijing's power over its own subjects," stated Representative Atterholt. The Olympics celebrate man at his best. A murderous dictatorship, with the blood of children on its jaws, must not be permitted to use the Games as propaganda masking its evil. This is exactly what Adolf Hitler was permitted to get away with when Nazi Germany hosted the Games in 1936.
Then the IOC at least had the excuse that the Games had been awarded to Berlin prior to the Nazis' 1933 rise to power. Today, in 2001, what would be your excuse? You must stand tall for moral principles and the dignity of man. Award the Olympics to a country where rights are protected, not to the Butchers of Beijing.
Andrew Bernstein, Ph.D.
Andrew Bernstein, author of The Capitalist Manifesto, is a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
For more articles by Andrew Bernstein, and his bio, click here.
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