- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2008

China floods the U.S. market with cheap goods, and we recoil in horror after discovering China’s health standards and regulations do not meet what Americans consider are minimum requirements.

Yet ours is a mock horror, for we continue to buy goods from a repressive nation that believes an individual is just another apparatus of the state. If an individual has a different view of his or her place in the universe, the state can put a bullet in the person’s head and bill the slug to the victim’s family.

Welcome to the Hypocrisy Games, as set to be staged in Beijing.

You can bet on plenty of self-righteous noise between now and August but no meaningful actions.

The West already is flummoxed, what with China acting with extreme prejudice against the Tibetan protesters, who took to the streets March 10 to commemorate the 49th anniversary of a failed rebellion against Chinese rule.

The only debate since March 10 is the number of dead — 22 by Beijing’s count and 99 by the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile.

The spilling of blood is causing consternation in the West, as if anyone thought the Chinese government would go soft in the months leading to the Beijing Games.

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, is engaged in what he calls “silent diplomacy” with the Chinese government. He undoubtedly is trying to explain to the Chinese that it is not nice to kill protesters, even if they are saying things the Chinese vehemently oppose.

This gives the world the impression the Chinese are human rights violators, and this is not a good time to be doing that, even if it is true, which, of course, it is.

The Chinese government is supposed to be on its best human rights behavior going into the Beijing Games.

Rogge sees hope, of course. But he probably should not try to peddle his definition of hope to the families of the dead, whether 22 or 99.

Rogge says he is having discussions with Chinese officials about the crackdown in Tibet and other human rights issues. Darfur, anyone?

Rogge believes the Chinese have improved their human rights record since the IOC awarded Beijing the games in 2001.

“I believe the games have advanced the agenda of human rights,” he said. “Is the situation perfect? By no means. Has it improved? I’m saying yes. Is the glass half full or half empty. I’m saying half full.”

Rogge is merely flashing the customary hubris of the IOC, which forever thinks it can make the world a safer, more hospitable place, despite ample evidence to the contrary in the last century.

Nations do not surrender their arms at the sight of white doves being released into the air. White doves or not, the world remains a hostile place.

You could ask Osama bin Laden if you could find him.

Countries often adopt the Olympics because it serves their propaganda interests. It grants a repressive regime an opportunity to show that, yes, it may kill 22 or 99 Tibetans, but you cannot take anything away from its broad-shouldered female swimmers.

Rogge is concerned about the possibility of protesters being attracted to the torch-relay route, slated to cover 85,000 miles in 130 days and five continents. Tibet is included in the revelry.

With the torch relay being a symbol of peace and blah, blah, blah, Rogge said: “We call on everyone not to use violence.”

Rogge dispelled the notion that the IOC has put a muzzle on the athletes in order not to offend our Chinese friends.

Rogge said athletes can express their free-speech rights whenever and however they like, so long as they are not in an Olympic venue.

Good. So here is to the athlete who has the guts to take a stroll around Beijing in a T-shirt that reads: “Long Live the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square.”

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