In 1949, Mao's communist peoples army began its so-called"liberation" of Tibet. Over half a century has passed and after the flight of the Dalai Lama, tens of thousands of people are dead or missing. This includes Gendun Nyima, the 6 year old successor to the Dalai Lama who was kidnapped by the Chinese in 1995. To mark the anniversary of the occupation, there have been recent protests in Tibet. There have been calls for an Olympic boycott to highlight the suffering in Tibet as well.
But the US Olympic committee spokesman said that a boycott will accomplish nothing and that it ranked among the worst ideas ever conceived. However, talks of an "atheletic boycott" are misplaced. A boycott will not accomplish much more than punishing young athletes who have spent a lifetime preparing for their moment in the spotlight. (Remember the US boycott of Moscow in 1980?) Instead, what about boycotting corporate sponsors who are in a position to do something about the tragedy in Tibet but will be profiting from the Olympic games instead? If consumers decided to boycott Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Visa and GE, a message would be sent about corporate responsibility. The greatest way to strike a blow for freedom is not to prohibit some 20-year-old in a Speedo from swimming 50 meters in a pool, but to ensure that corporate sponsors who remain silent on the issue of Tibet dont profit from the games. [editor note: I totally agree. US companies who participate with China are complicit in its abuses in Tibet]