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Olympic Games: Chinese regime fans the flames of protest
PRO-TIBETAN demonstrators disrupted the procession of the Olympic torch through London (above) , last Sunday, despite a huge police and security presence.
The protesters' action was in solidarity with Tibetans arrested following the recent uprising in that country against Chinese rule, which was swiftly suppressed by the Chinese authorities with over 100 people killed.
The Chinese regime wants to use the 2008 Beijing games as a means to boost its global image and increase support at home. But it has come under much international criticism for its lack of democratic rights in China and occupied Tibet, and its support for rotten dictatorships like Sudan and Burma.
However, China's rulers are not alone in this. The British and US governments support and work with dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan for example, not to mention the biggest dictatorship of all - China!
Around 60,000 US and British companies happily exploit China's cheap non-union labour force with the protection of Beijing's anti-democratic laws and riot police. That is why Gordon Brown and George Bush have been muted in their criticism of China.
Like all major sporting events in the capitalist world, the Olympics is first and foremost about making money for the big corporations.
So when the bosses of the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2008 Olympics to Beijing, this was about money, and big profit-making opportunities for global companies like Coca Cola, Adidas, McDonald's etc, that have traditionally monopolised the event.
To keep its side of the bargain, the Chinese regime is spending an estimated $40 billion on the Games - on grandiose infrastructure projects most of which will be of little benefit to workers and the poor.
This is an especially sore point after the recent freak snow storms that decimated much of the power and transport infrastructure in central and southern China. Some areas may be still without electrical power when the Olympics start in August!
In Beijing itself, many people have been forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for Olympics-related construction, or luxury apartments. The Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions has estimated that 1.5 million people will have lost their homes in Beijing by the time the games take place.
By putting China under the international spotlight the Olympics can be an opportunity to protest against poverty, inhuman factory conditions, land seizures, lack of basic democratic rights, environmental destruction and many other vital issues.
In struggling against these injustices, socialists do not expect nor seek the support of foreign capitalists and governments but rather the support of other oppressed peoples around the world.