Tom Knott: Games can’t alter the truth

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China’s attempt to show its modern and orderly side at the Beijing Games next month is succumbing to the reality of a corrupt and unresponsive communist regime.

That China believed it could use the Olympics to showcase its advances was a farfetched notion from the outset, in the company of Hitler believing he could use the Berlin Games in 1936 to highlight the superiority of the Aryan race.

Several fast runners and swimmers do not reflect the character and strength of a people or confirm the righteousness of a government. A robust medal count is no more than that. The impressive medal count of the old Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries could not halt their decay from within.

With the globe’s intrusive media set to descend on Beijing to tell the unfiltered stories of the masses and to ferret out the gross inequities of the communist system, China is destined to be cast in a light that disturbs government officials.

Free Tibet? That is only part of the uneasiness with China.

Taiwan and the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region are two other hot-button issues before the Chinese state.

Global calls to boycott the Beijing Games have subsided, thankfully enough. Boycotts end up only punishing the athletes who have labored countless years to have this one potential moment in the spotlight.

The U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games in 1980, and the Soviets boycotted the Los Angeles Games in 1984. No grand purpose was served in either case.

President Bush also has resisted the politically motivated suggestions to skip the opening ceremonies, as if showing up China’s government would bring a level of clarity to it.

Poking a nation in the eye against the backdrop of athletic competition is a curious position, given the view of certain U.S. politicians to engage in dialogue with the nut job of Iran.

We will try to make nice with the nut job who seeks the annihilation of Israel but insult the Chinese because of the platform of the Olympics.

The mixing of politics and sport, lamentable though it is, is inevitable. Host nations usually have a point to make, even if the point is lost on the rest of the globe.

China cannot polish its image enough to erase its intolerable human rights record, one-child policy, oppressive responses to any form of dissent and complicity in the genocidal madness in Darfur.

A spike in Chinese gold medals next month certainly will not relieve the suffering of the hundreds of parents who lost children in the earthquake that struck Deyang in May.

Those parents peacefully demonstrated this week in an effort to seek answers from the tragedy, specifically if faulty construction practices contributed to the collapse of the schools, as believed.

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