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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Trojan panda

Despite protests all over the world, China is keeping the Olympic torch burning as it embarks on a turbulent journey toward Beijing. From London to San Francisco and to Buenos Aires, protesters are strongly demonstrating against China’s crackdown on dissidents and the violations of human rights in Tibet. With world leaders divided on the issue of boycotting the Olympic Games, now is the best time for the United States to take a stand and show its condemnation against the oppressive Chinese rule in Tibet.

Through times, the Olympics have been a symbol of peace and unity in the world. It serves as an avenue for more than 200 countries, which share the same ideals and goals, to come together in harmony to celebrate their aspirations and dreams. But how can the 2008 Olympics be a representation of peace and unity if China itself does not believe in the values of democracy and freedom?

The Olympic slogan “One World, One Dream” is a very profound expression of humanity’s oneness, but it is very paradoxical for China to share such vision with the rest of the world when in fact its actions threaten the realization of “one dream.” China’s claim that it is committed to peaceful development and harmonious society is propaganda to cover up its repressive, manipulative and dark side.

The world does not share China’s atrocity against the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans. It is unthinkable for the Chinese government to accuse the Dalai Lama of instigating the recent uprisings in Tibet because the Tibetans have the inherent right to demand freedom from the shackles of Chinese repression.

Moreover, as the world is working hard to stop the genocide in Darfur and bring democracy in Burma, China does not seem to care about these issues. Instead, it supports the Sudanese government by selling armaments to the militias and protects the Burmese junta by refusing to back any democratic civilian movement.

China has the capability to make positive impacts, but instead, it chooses to suppress human rights, sponsor the destruction of life and undermine the values of freedom and democracy. These are not the values that the Olympics represent and certainly not the aspirations that the world shares. Allowing China to herald its ascension to the Olympic movement in front of the whole world is tantamount to celebration of China’s rule in Tibet and its roles in Darfur and Burma.

The world has witnessed China’s remarkable metamorphosis from a sleeping giant to a thriving economic power. But rather than becoming a champion of freedom and human rights, China has turned into a Trojan panda. Like the deceitful mythological horse, China is using its rise in political and economic power to assuage its adversaries and conceal its surreptitious motives from the rest of the world. If manipulation and deception were Olympic events, China would surely win the gold.

As an influential power, the United States should lead in demanding democracy in Tibet and reform in China’s foreign policies. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the country that brought us Tiananmen Square, Darfur, lead-tainted products and currency manipulation. By boycotting the Beijing Olympics, the United States would send a clear message to China that these unsportsmanlike games must come to an end. China must now stop being a Trojan panda demonizing the world and start giving back what Tibet and its people truly deserve – freedom.


REAGAN F. PARLAN welcomes your comments and suggestions at rfparlan@ucdavis.edu.


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