Monday, March 31, 2008

More Chinese (take that any way you wish...)

I can't seem to leave this China thing alone. Maybe it's because I keep hearing about it on the news. So I'm telling everyone who'll listen why a boycott of the Olympic Games is not an answer.

  1. We can't get up on our high horse and bitch at anybody else about human rights violations. We're fucking up the planet, which won't seriously affect us, but will starve millions of people. In addition, we continue to discriminate against the most vulnerable people in Canada, when it would be quite simple and pretty affordable to guarantee an annual wage and further subsidise housing. In addition, we have a history of racial discrimination in the Chinese head tax, the Japanese and German internment camps (and Ukranians, too, but I never understood that), and the genocide of the First Nations. Not to mention that when we couldn't kill all the red people (not even with bioweapons), we tried to breed them out, or steal their children, and then when that didn't work, we put them on reservations, made them poor, and then made it difficult to break the cycle of poverty. We also instilled in our children a healthy sense of contempt them.
  2. We're hosting the Winter Games in two years, and we won't have stopped our occupation of another nation by then. So there's that. Dead Afghanis look as bad on the news as dead Tibetans.
  3. The Brits likely won't have pulled out of Iraq by 2012, so they can have that monumental human rights cluster fuck on their hands for as well.
  4. I forgot to mention the economic sanctions against Iraq that Canada participated in, killing about a million Iraqis. So, while we were smart enough to tell George and Tony that we wouldn't go play in the sand with them, we did kill as many people as the war has. However, our way was much cheaper...
  5. China has more than a billion people in it. They are the second or third biggest market in the world for consumer products (I'm not sure where the EU sits in that ranking). They own most of America's debt, which is substantial. They produce a significant portion of our manufactured goods, because we're too snotty to produce them ourselves, and we don't want to pay a fair price for them anyway. They are also increasing food production, and managing to sell produce to Canada that Canada would grow anyway, just not as cheaply: pears, apples, berries, apricots and pears. (Do you realize how fucked up that is? I expect my bok choi and water chestnut to come from China, but my apples? I live in ONTARIO, for Thor's sake!) China also has the largest standing army in the world, and while their military budget is peanuts compared to the US, they still make and sell a lot of weapons. What I'm saying here is that China may be embarrassed by an Olympic Boycott, but they can afford to be embarrassed. They have the worl economy by the short & curlies, as my mother would say.
  6. Boycotts would hurt only the athletes (who haven't killed any Tibetans, I'd wager) and the sponsors (I can support that aspect of it. I'd shed no tears for poor old Ronald McDonald.)
  7. *EDIT* Olympic boycotts don't work. Did the US change its economic and defense policies because the Soviet Union boycotted the '84 games? Did they improve conditions for their own poor? Did they pull back on defense spending or intelligence and counter-intelligence? Did they pull out of West Germany? Um, no. They re-elected Reagan, an then elected Bush Sr. How about the US boycott of the 1980 games? Any measurable difference? Apparently not. Only a retaliatory boycott. So we sit out their games, and then they decline our invitation. That's mature.

You want China to stop killing Tibetans? Stop buying their shit. It worked with the dolphins and the tuna. (I don't mean to insult anyone by comparing them to dolphins, though I can't imagine how that could be considered insulting. But I don't know much about Tibetan culture except what I've learned from the Dalai Llama, who doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd get worked up about a dolphin analogy, but you never know.)

You know what else might work? Stop selling them shit. Particularly oil. Canada is in a peverse position of power, or we could be. The tar sands are huge. Probably more oil there than remains in Saudi Arabia (though the Saudis would deny that). However, it's expensive (which seems to be fine, now), and it's dirty (which, according to the relevant governments, seems to be fine, for now), and it takes a lot of energy to extract (which is fine, for the oil companies that drill for the natural gas the tar sadns use). We can't turn off the taps to the US (until Obama gets elected and opens up NAFTA discussions, which he'll soonafter regret), but we can say we aren't going to sell any oil to the Chinese unless they get their human rights shit together.

You want to see Canada punching above her weight on the international stage? We could do it. Just not in Beijing.

Though we will kick their ass in baseball (if they play it).

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