Boycotting the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

The following letter ended up in my inbox today from Huang Jinming of the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party of China. Their website is under construction and there wasn’t much I could find out about them online. However, their letter lays out some principled, well-reasoned arguments, so I thought it was worth sharing.

For continued coverage and commentary on China, the Olympics and Human Rights, check out Human Rights Watch’s China Olympics website.




Please Do Not Attend the Opening Ceremony of the 29th Olympic Games
—A letter to Leaders of Democratic Nations

Respected Ladies and Gentlemen:

The 29th Summer Olympic Games will be taking place in Beijing about four months from now. We learn that some leaders of Western democracies, such as the president of the United States, have planned to attend its opening ceremony; others, such as the premier of Canada, have decided not to. We, members of the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party of China, urge all of you not to attend the opening ceremony.

As Chinese, we are sincerely happy to see the Olympic Games take place in China. However, we cannot ignore the fact that hosting the Olympic Games has been highly politicized by the communist government of China. On the one hand, the Chinese government makes an all out effort to host the Olympic Games and takes advantage of this opportunity to promote nationalism. On the other hand, it does not keep its promise to improve human rights in China. Its goal is to whitewash reality, to cover up the regime’s brutality, lies, and corruption, and to deceive the world community. Its real intention is the legitimization and continuation of the current political structure, the one party dictatorship. Therefore, its actions are highly political.

We do not advocate boycotting the 29th Summer Olympic Games even though we see through the Chinese government’s intention. We understand that all athletes want to show their accomplishments achieved after many, many years of hard practices. We understand that most Chinese feel honored to have the Olympic Games held the first time in their country. We understand that the Chinese view the Olympic Games as the most important sports event, and they want to see them in their own land. For all these reasons, we would like to see the Summer Olympic Games take place as scheduled, and we hope Chinese athletes will win a lot of medals.

Nonetheless, we want to point out that, unlike sports games, the opening ceremony featuring the presence of high ranking political leaders is a highly political event. As leaders of nations, your attendance will have political implications. The presence of leaders of democracies at the opening ceremony may be interpreted as approval and support for the Chinese communist regime. It is obviously inappropriate for democratic leaders to support an autocratic regime. We sincerely call on all of you not to attend the opening ceremony. You may certainly go and see your favorite items if you really like sports games, but please do not attend the opening ceremony.

We respectfully request all of you to consider this suggestion and make the right choice to support the cause of China’s democratization.

With best regards,

The Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party of China


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Foossa Facts

  • I am a common Chinese. In my view, the Social Democratic Party of China are jerks. They are criticizing the chinese communist party at a wrong time and at a absolutely wrong event. By doing so, they can only win the hatred and distain and dispise from all chinese people. that’s why I say they are jerks, wildly stupid. meanwhile, such a unwise doing indicates their inability. ha ha ha ha ha!

  • You want to manage china .
    Go death

  • ridiculous

    what is is social democratic party of China? never never heard about it…
    it is a shame of sdp

  • ridiculous

    i am ordinary chinese and I love China and support our government.

    rubish central comitee of fucking sdp of ass go hell.

  • I agree with you.

  • Heather

    It is a waste of time to criticize your stupid words, you are definitely rubbish of Harvard.Please be responsible for your blog, do not be the blacksheep of your university.

  • I just passed along information from a Chinese source. The words are not mine, so I don’t get the flames from pissed-off Chinese people, since there is clearly dissent and disagreement even within China. This is good and healthy for an open society. I am fine with publishing the flames I get on this blog because I am confident enough in my beliefs to withstand criticism, even if they are baseless and ad hominem.

  • babel

    I can understand this boycotting thing.
    But I really do not feel so good. Most Chinese admit the dark side of the society. We are human. Society always has problems. Why can’t we just be friendly and nice? This SDP or something, I never heard it before. Could you please do not hurt our feelings, ok? You are Chinese, you must know how we highlight this event. We wait for so many years , do not take our happiness away, ok? If you think you are fight for us.

  • Warry

    hi,above guy who named BABEL ,you mentioned that LEESEAN is a Chinese ? is it true?

    To Leesean:
    I just look around in the world of internet ,to find some different ideas indeed,and as BABEL said that no people of our country admit some different things that people don’t agree,it’s Chinese traditional and soul of our culture–HARMONY.

    With opportunity of this great game,what we Chinese want to do is just show ourselves to the world and make ourselves understood–our best willing to the world:one world ,one dream.
    And what’s more,nearly all of we Chinese people think this is great chance to let the world understand China,since we always been misunderstand.

    Let me remind you ,if you don’t understand other country’s culture and people and their idea,never express your attitude so random without think it over,cause it bring hurt and conflit.Just like USA always blame other countries’s human right situation,while the countries hate USA.

  • 1. I am not Chinese. I am Taiwanese and American. Let’s not fight about this Taiwan vs. China thing.
    2. I don’t know the source of the letter I posted. I couldn’t find anything about the Social Democratic Party of China online. It just ended up in my inbox.
    3. Believe me, I didn’t write it, because my Chinese is not that good, and I don’t really know simplified characters anyway.
    4. To Warry: While harmony may be a cultural value, I’m not going to believe that in a country with 1.3 billion people there aren’t going to be different opinions. Remember those protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989? Or what about Falun Gong? I’m sure they have some differences with the Chinese government. There are plenty of other examples, so enough said.
    5. Just for the record, I’m not anti-China. Every country has skeletons in the closet. Both of my countries, Taiwan and the US have plenty. But I don’t take it personally when people point that out because there is a difference between my own identity and that of my government. Human rights are universal standards. Countries SHOULD be subject to international criticism. I hate what the US is doing in Iraq, Guantanamo and in many other places as much as many people who are not US Americans.

  • Toro

    Olympics is a sports event, not about politics! You or SDP blames that we chinese has politicized Olympics, unfortunately, you did the same thing. you always highlights that you do not support and even know SDP, so why put such anonymous information here?
    You think that Fanlun Gong is showing their different opinions about China. Ridiculous! Fanlun Gong is CULT!! The government do the right thing for us, to protect people’s life.
    You do not know China. You do not know your information source. You can not be responsible for tour words, do you? Why you still here have so-called your own opinion?

  • Notice that the SDP letter advocates boycotting the opening ceremonies (which is over, and no visiting world leader boycotted, so this is a moot point anyway). They don’t advocate for a boycotting of the actual sports part of the Olympics. Everything is political, there is nothing that is apolitical. The Olympics are not just about sports. They are about making money for corporate sponsors and for nationalist prestige.

    Anonymous speech is a cherished and protected tradition in free societies. The SDP where just making a point, but their suggestion was share by other groups as well. Perhaps it is BECAUSE they fear for their own safety that they hide behind the wall of anonymity.

    I’m not in favor of Falun Gong (or any religious group in particular), but no religion should be persecuted, even if their beliefs are false. They aren’t the only ones. Religious persecution of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims is well-documented as well. If by “protecting people’s life,” you mean torture, then ok.

    There are plenty of other sources out there. I link to several from my blog. I’m not asking you to take my word for it. Surely, not every human rights group is lying.

    Even US President Bush is commenting on the human rights situation in China. I disagree with Bush about pretty much everything, so this is a big deal.

    Anyway, I think I have defended my positions enough. China is in a position to make improvements. There have been great achievements in economic development and environmental quality leading up to the Games. But there is always room for improvement, and human rights is one of those areas.

    Hope you enjoy the Games. Peace.

  • hehehe

    this is so narrow of the boycott. everything has two sides, this person only notice the bad side, right, the government does spend lots of money to deal with air, but what do you mean? you don’t want they do it? even just for a show? no matter what the perpuse is, it is good for people live there. does this eveil person wants the air getting worse? and let people there die of long cancer?

    i don;t think chinese gocernment is the best in the world. and i think they have lots of problems, but this person only makes me think they want the government getting worse, and kill every one, and stop every changing, even positive ones, then they are waiting, and find a chance to replace the current government, then they can do the same thing too, maybe even worse. then it may be a true hell for chinese people, or maybe things can be better, but no one can be sure. and from his letter, i don;t think he is open and nice enough to change all those bad things, and keep the good stuff. advice is nice, but attitude is so important too. boycott won’t fix all the problems, and someway it will be worse. especially what he said in the letter, but lucky, so far, we know no one listen to this dog’s lie.

  • maghero

    To leesean:

    You are such a poor and absurd guy!
    You support FaLunGong?
    If that was true, I suggest you to introduce that Fucking EVIL CULT to you dear Taiwan.

    Maybe you will see how they scramble your beautiful island in less than 3 years. ^_^

    wish you good luck and a 白日飞升,hahaha

  • maghero

    To leesean:

    You are such a poor and absurd guy!
    You support FaLunGong?
    If that was true, I suggest you to introduce that Fucking EVIL CULT to your dear Taiwan.

    Maybe you will see how they scramble your beautiful island in less than 3 years. ^_^

    wish you good luck and a 白日飞升,hahaha

  • js

    well ,boy, Let’s boycott it! lol!