The 2022 Winter Olympics open in China next February and for good reason critics are calling them the Genocide Olympics.
Evidence increases by the day that the Chinese government is an evil regime that is hell-bent on torturing and killing millions of its Uyghur citizens and various dissenters, employing every illegal and immoral trick in the book to achieve world domination, and holding total contempt for human rights.
The Olympics will provide China a global stage to celebrate and portray to the world an image far removed from the reality of the nation’s depravity and human suffering.
We’ve seen this bad movie before.
Flash back to 1936 when Germany used the Berlin Games (aka Nazi Olympics) as a gigantic propaganda tool to showcase a regime that was proudly racist, violent, and predatory and created the gold standard for genocide in the world.
Adolf Hitler presided over the opening ceremonies in cult-like adoration from the huge crowds, swastikas far outnumbered athletic insignia, and the pageantry and power awed observers and confirmed the world’s worst fears.
As in the period leading up to Berlin 1936, there have been calls for an Olympics boycott as the world again senses the gathering storm of a bully that will stop at nothing to win.
Now, as then, there has been much hand-wringing and sanctimony from individuals and nations from across the political spectrum.
But little action.
Only in recent days, the U.S. announced it will conduct a diplomatic boycott, which means its athletes will compete but there will be no American diplomatic or political representation there.
As expected, the Chinese deeply resent the snub and immediately slammed the U.S. announcement and warned that repercussions can be expected.
Despite considerable pressure and impassioned pleas, Canada, like so many other countries, has been cautious in how it treats the Beijing games.
There is the legitimate concern that a total boycott would mean the real losers would be the athletes denied a unique opportunity for which they have trained and competed for years.
There were earlier calls for the games to be moved to another country but that would have involved great expense and there were no serious takers. Who wants to tangle with the mighty and vindictive masters of China?
Finally, it appears that Canada may soon take some form of action. In the wake of the U.S. decision to conduct a diplomatic boycott, Ottawa now says that soon it will announce some kind of similar action.
At this late date, it seems to me there is only one way the world can truly show its contempt for the leaders of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. This move is in the hands of the athletes.
An athletes’ boycott of the traditionally spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, broadcast live to an international audience of billions, would embarrass the host nation and bring attention to the atrocities perpetrated inside China and beyond.
There is nothing the Chinese leadership fears more than losing face. Isn’t that what the saga of the “two Michaels” was all about?
Canada arrested high-ranking Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in accordance with an extradition agreement we have with the U.S.
In quick retaliation, China imprisoned Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kourig and held them in near isolation for 1020 days.
China continues to deny any connection between the detention of Wanzhou and the two Michaels but it was almost laughable that once the U.S. made a deal that freed Wanzhou the two Canadians were magically flying home to freedom.
Just what kind of fools do the Chinese take us for as a result of our kid glove treatment of them? Don’t answer that!
Currently, Canadian media attention is on the uniforms our Canadian athletes will wear in Beijing.
Surely it would be wiser to focus on a campaign to persuade the world’s leading athletes to take a stand against genocide and show that this generation is serious about human rights and how they will improve this doleful world they have inherited.
It’s an opportunity of a scale that won’t be repeated for a long time.
Athletes could do what our politicians, Olympic organizers, corporate sponsors, and other power brokers have been so reluctant to do.
It will take guts.
But to get to compete in the Olympics you have to have a level of courage and determination that is far, far greater than that demanded of politicians and officials in the Olympic movement.
I’m anxious to see our Canadian flag raised at medal ceremonies on the podium at the Beijing games.
I just don’t want to see it waving in President Xi Jinping’s grand parade to glorify himself and his murderous government.
A ceremony boycott would mean the Games can go on and the world’s Olympians will receive the opportunity and recognition they deserve.
And history will honour them for their bravery and principles long after their medals have tarnished and their records have been broken.
Sally Barnes has enjoyed a distinguished career as a writer, journalist and author. Her work has been recognized in a number of ways, including receiving a Southam Fellowship in Journalism at Massey College at the University of Toronto. A self-confessed political junkie, she has worked in the back-rooms for several Ontario premiers. In addition to a number of other community contributions, Sally Barnes served a term as president of the Ontario Council on the Status of Women. She is a former business colleague of Doppler’s publisher, Hugh Mackenzie, and lives in Kingston, Ontario. You can find her online at sallybarnesauthor.com.
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