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If nothing else comes from China's Olympics, it should be that decent governments put pressure on the hosts to fix their awful civil rights record and disregard for the environment.

I only hope that we see this as more important than a few medals.

China is a proud nation and we should use the next twelve months to shame it into acting against some of its ugliest characteristics.

Labour was pathetic when it came to stopping our cricketers touring Zimbabwe. I do not expect anything better re China.

The Olympics are full of drug cheats like the Tour de France. Britain should not be participating in this grotesque spectacle never mind wasting billions on hosting them in 2012.

The Olympics are full of drug cheats like the Tour de France. Britain should not be participating in this grotesque spectacle never mind wasting billions on hosting them in 2012.

The Olympics have a lot going for them. They unify the world; provide a constructive international contest. They send out messages of co-operation. This being the case, it is all the more important that we send a strong message to illiberal states that we will not stand idly by while they oppress their own population.

Maybe if there are specific demands that could be met in advance of the Olympics - like stop murdering Falun Gong members and harvesting their organs - a threatened boycott would be a good idea. I think if it wants to do good it should be aimed at specific reforms, not a generalised 'we don't like you'.

Perhaps we should also be a lot harsher on imports from China - demanding that any import be verifiably not made with prison labour or other enforced labour conditions?

Something that the European Parliament may tackle?

No,no,no. If we are going to have a boycott of China let's make it something that might actually hurt the Chinese government such as a boycott of goods made in China or a financial boycott.Obviously this will hurt the UK too .A sporting boycott will probably achieve the same as that achieved in Moscow in 1980 or Los Angeles in 1984.ie nothing.
This is symbolic politics at its very worst.

Weeing in the wind.
Being confrontational with the Chinese does not work, they entrench, they ignore you, they seek ways to screw you. Given the vast amount of loot Peking has, the trade we do, it would not be in our interests to pursue a boycott.
Anyway, hasn't it been said in the past that we should not mix sports and politics? The Moscow and Los Angeles boycotts were pointless, the only winners second rate sports-people, the losers athletics and sport.
Far better that we start supporting, covertly, all the various break-away factions in China and those that seek a democratic turn. Repay in kind, the help that China gave directly and indirectly to the North Koreans, North Vietnamese, and "freedom fighters" around the globe etc., and the present support for murderous governments in Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Unless China gets rid of that Smog, no one will be running anywhere. All the athletes will be flat on their backs with carbon monoxide poisoning!

It is impossible for Britiain to hit China where it hurts. If the most we can hope for is symbolism, than symbolism it should be. The defeatist says "we won't make any difference, so let's not bother".

If we protest, China may get the message that we tried, and failed, to stand up for democracy. If we don't protest, the only message they get is that we can't be bothered.

I have to say that China might not be a perfect democracy but on the other hand it is a society which has come a long way in just 25 years - both in terms of freedom and economic growth.

The Chinese people will have gone from 1978 to 2008 from a country where 60% of people lived (just barely existed) on $1 a day in a totalitarian society to one which has abolished absolute poverty (in that sense), and freedoms to move, own property, marry who they choose, and so on are gradually becoming entrenched.

The absolute numbers are staggering - in 30 years some 600 million people will have been pushed out of poverty. In many areas, living standards have caught up with quasi-developed nations like Brazil or Russia.

If that is not something to celebrate I don't know what is.

The Chinese Government also has the highest approval rating of any country Government according to the Pew Global Attitudes survey (page 9).

The starving of Africa must be glad that their corrupt and self serving Governments will be allowed to go as the 'human rights' of their citizens are respected (they are perfectly entitled to die in the gutter).

So no, a boycott of China is not what is needed or helpful.

It is a symptom of comfortable armchair liberalism at its worst to attack China - it is a long way from perfect, and no, I will not defend the indefensible aspects of the regime, but overall there are many worse countries in the World in terms of how they treat their own people.

Indeed, if China wasn't such a noticeable success I think people would not be pointing out its failures so much.

Perhaps we might send Two Shags, who is keen on China, to raise the issues?

Oh to be fly on the wall at that little party!

The Chinese will milk this for every propaganda point they can, which is why their athletes, swimmers et al will be being pumped full of this or that potion as we write(as well as, no doubt, copious quantities of quack preparations made from endangered species).

Chinese athletes or whatever of whom no one has previously heard will break this or that record by a country mile and the IOC will carefully study the floor around their feet.

All this will be accompanied by bagfuls of synthetic BBC enthusiasm for the British Tiddlywinks Team, our only winner of a gold medal, who will be presented as the greatest sportsmen since Philippides brought the good news from Marathon to Athens.

Meanwhile China will routinely be oppressing anyone who steps out of line or wants to do something really dramatic like have a second child. The oppressed native people of China's colony Tibet will have their faces ground ever further into the dirt.

Will this government do anything?

Don't be daft.

If they could not summon up the will to take a pop at Comrade Bob, they are hardly going to stick their fingers up the Chinese nostril, bearing in mind we trade with them and do diplomatic business with them.

Besides there are a fair number of them, I'll be bound, who have still got their Little Red Book tucked away somewhere (some may even keep it by their bedsides out of nostalgia for the glory days of 1968) who still think the whole rotten system is 'a good thing' and would dearly love to let us have a taste of it, so they are not going to be full of fire and brimstone for the Communist Cause.

Those athletes who know what a chequebook looks like but cannot spell the words 'principle' or 'boycott' will all go, you may be sure. Our politicians will all go and strut their stuff, all Useful Idiots lending respectabilty to the regime, simply because we have to be seen by the IOC to do so, lest Emperor Jacques Rogge has a major hissy fit.

Cynical? Moi? You just bet.

China just doesn't figure on the radar of most normal people. I'd be much more interested in calling for a boycott of the London olympics: that's going to be a £12Billion [and rising] white-elephant whose cost will be borne by the UK taxpayer.

I don't think that a boycott would work, because it would be seen as a massive loss of face to China and nothing is more sure to make the Chinese authorities hostile and defensive. However, we are right to raise the issues and have the debate.

I have been to China recently and the Olympics are a massive event to them. The Chinese authorities really want to present a positive image of themselves to the world. The authorities may not be interested in hearing our opinions about religious persecution, for example, but this is the one big chance we have to at least have their attention.

There are many positive aspects to the progress which China has made in recent times. Make no mistake, it is good old-fashioned capitalism which is bringing these about and raising people out of the grinding poverty which socialism helped to create. However, it remains totalitarian and I think there is a strong perception among many Chinese that the increasing wealth of the country is not permeating through sufficiently to ordinary people.

Hands up anyone who thinks that if we boycott Beijing then in turn we won't find other nations bycotting the London Olympics in 2012 in return. There are more than enough other countries, particularly Islamic ones who strongly disagree with our foreign policy, who would. Let's keep international politics out of the Olympics please, after all we're not exactly pure as the driven snow on matters of human rights either.

Are you joking? Brown doesnt care about Human rights.
Look at what hes done to the English since 1997? He's stolen tens of billions of English pounds. He stole English pensioners money.
He's condoned English cancer sufferers being denied life-saving drugs. He's not a decent Human being.
Besides that, he idolises mass murderer Stalin! That should be enough to go on.

I agree with the previous writers who have said no to the suggestion of a boycott, on the grounds that we are holding the games in 2012 and so we cannot afford to stir up problems.

Olympic boycotts are simply political tokens and we should use other means to show our opposition to human rights issues etc.

What's the evidence for Brown idolising Stalin?

Matt Davis et al are correct - if we don't go to China then others may not come to us.

We are stuck, I regret, with 14 days of dreadful television ahead and a complete confusion as to why no-one can pronounce 'Peking' correctly any longer.

I disagree with Derek, though. Gesture politics may seem shallow and other methods may be more effective, but against PRC it is about the only realistic weapon we have.

Except sending the gunboats of course.

Geoff,"Except sending the gunboats of course".

You mean the Navy has actually got more than one of those Gunboats Geoff?

Also,with regard to our weapons that you mention,
the only way we could confront the Chinese these days is via a snotty Recorded Delivery letter to them,(but Royal Mails on strike again isn't it?)

What a mess we are in,tut tut.

And how many countries would be just as justified (if not more so) in boycotting the 2012 UK games on the grounds that we invaded and are still occupying a sovereign country which had not attacked us, had not threatened us, did not have the weapons to mount a future threat and was not developing weapons which could mount such a threat?

The 1980 Games in Russia were disrupted by a boycott led by the United States followed by 64 other countries in protest over the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

And we are proposing a boycott of the Chinese games?

Given that the official Conservative line is that we would have supported the invasion of Iraq even knowing what we now know about the lack of evidence etc etc, this truly does display a staggering level of hypocrisy.

People in glass houses.....

They rest of the world wouldn't notice - I'm not sure we have a decent Olympian these days

Gone are the days of Daley Thompson, Coe, Redgrave, Ovett, Gunnell,Edwards, Pinsent, etc....

Another sign of our great nation in decline...

Groundhog day.Clearly, you know even less about Olympic sport than politics.Britain is now arguably the strongest nation in the world in sailing,rowing and cycling.We can expect to pick up quite a few golds from those sports alone.

Well, think how many more golds we can pick up in all sorts of sports if other countries boycott either the 2008 or the 2012 Olympics. Might even come out top.

Aren't the games a good way of encouraging better dialogue and discussion of these matters? Not sure about this one, but tend to disagree, if the chineese wanted communism, this is what you get. Also, not sure Brittish business will be too keen on this idea.

Having said that, the Chinees Government are notorious abusers of athletics to promote the 'joys' of communism, in-fact they are morally bankrupt when it comes to the sport...giving special 'herbs' to its swimmers etc....

I sympathise with Edward's aim here - to draw attention to China's appalling record on Human Rights - but I'm afraid I disapprove of Boycotts on principle! They usually have either no impact at all - or they make people actively support the cause they are trying to demean!

I sympathise with Edward's aim here - to draw attention to China's appalling record on Human Rights - but I'm afraid I disapprove of Boycotts on principle! They usually have either no impact at all - or they make people actively support the cause they are trying to demean!

sorry for the double post - it's weird when that happens!!

I dont think that by bycotting the chinese olymics China will really change. They are a pround nation and by bycotting the olymics, they could become too offended to keep importing products, which the UK can simply not afford-just think how many items we own that say 'made in china'

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