On Boycotting the Beijing Olympics

Recent events — in Darfur, in Tibet, in Burma, and within China — force an inevitable debate about the appropriate political and moral response to China’s hosting of the Summer 2008 Games, and in particular whether some form of boycott is warranted. Unfortunately, if predictably, there has been a good deal more heat than light generated by this debate, which too often reflects clashing axioms rather than informed argument. Since my own expertise lies in understanding Sudan, and in particular the ongoing genocide in Darfur, I’ll necessarily focus on this part of the debate. But few working on Sudan are unaware of the controversies associated with Chinese economic policy and human rights standards elsewhere in Africa.

read more