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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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