Rohrabacher urges Bush to boy­cott China Olympics

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One - By Sean Lengell

An ef­fort is brew­ing in Congress to per­suade Pres­i­dent Bush to boy­cott the 2008 Sum­mer Olympics in Bei­jing over con­cerns on Chi­nese hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

A res­o­lu­tion in­tro­duced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, calls for the U.S. gov­ern­ment to take “im­me­di­ate steps” to boy­cott the games un­less the “Chi­nese regime stops en­gag­ing in se­ri­ous hu­man rights abuses against its cit­i­zens and stops sup­port­ing se­ri­ous hu­man rights abuses by the gov­ern­ments of Su­dan, Burma and North Korea against their cit­i­zens.”

The non­bind­ing res­o­lu­tion was co-spon­sored by seven Repub­li­cans.

“The Olympics rep­re­sent the no­blest el­e­ments of hu­man­ity, and the Chi­nese regime rep­re­sents the op­po­site,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. “The Olympic torch is sup­posed to be a bea­con of light shin­ing upon mankind’s higher as­pi­ra­tions in the world, and it’s a trav­esty to have that torch hosted by a regime that is the world’s worst hu­man rights abuser.”

Rep. Max­ine Wa­ters, Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat, also in­tro­duced a non­bind­ing res­o­lu­tion ask­ing the pres­i­dent to boy­cott the Bei­jing games be­cause of China’s “long-stand­ing eco­nomic and mil­i­tary ties with Su­dan” and be­cause China “con­tin­ues to strengthen th­ese ties in spite of the on­go­ing geno­cide in Dar­fur.” Dar­fur is a re­gion in west­ern Su­dan.

The Chi­nese Em­bassy did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

The res­o­lu­tions were in­tro­duced dur­ing the hec­tic fi­nal week that Congress was in ses­sion be­fore its Au­gust re­cess, and thus ini­tially re­ceived lit­tle at­ten­tion.

So Mr. Rohrabacher, the rank­ing Repub­li­can on the For­eign Af­fairs sub­com­mit­tee on in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, hu­man rights and over­sight, on Aug. 22 dis­trib­uted a let­ter to House mem­bers ask­ing for sup­port for the res­o­lu­tion. The let­ter was co-signed by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida Repub­li­can.

Mr. Rohrabacher likened U.S. sup­port for the Bei­jing Olympics to the 1936 sum­mer games in Ber­lin, in which the United States and its al­lies turned a blind eye to atroc­i­ties per­pe­trated by the rul­ing Nazi regime in Ger­many.

“Nazi Ger­many hosted the Olympics, giv­ing Hitler a world­wide plat­form to show­case his fas­cist pro­pa­ganda,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. “It was wrong to sup­port the Olympic venue then, and it’s wrong for the United States to sup­port this pres­ti­gious event be­ing held in a sim­i­larly fas­cist regime in 2008.”

While con­vinc­ing the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion and the U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee to boy­cott the 2008 games is a long shot, pro­po­nents of the ef­fort hope to pres­sure Olympic cor­po­rate spon­sors to with­draw their sup­port.

Boy­cott ad­vo­cates also hope to draw greater at­ten­tion to what they say are egre­gious hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions by the Chi­nese.

“The Amer­i­can pub­lic has been lulled into a cer­tain com­pla­cency con­cern­ing China,” Rohrabacher spokes­woman Tara Set­mayer said. “But peo­ple are start­ing to see the neg­a­tive ef­fects of the United States’ cozy re­la­tion­ship with China.”

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