Making themselves heard from the start of the Olympic torch saga, from Athens to Beijing, opponents of Chinese violence and repression in Tibet have repeatedly protested the 2008 Olympics that are to be held in China this summer. Since the start of the torch relay in Athens, demonstrators have appeared consistently at the relay points around the globe.
Animosity between China and Tibet is the result of a long chain historical events. A nation with ancient origins, Tibet has at certain points been controlled by China, though it has a distinct cultural identity of its own. Not long after the victory of the Chinese communists over Chinese nationalist forces in 1949, the Chinese army invaded Tibet, claiming that it was bringing progress to its people and freedom to the oppressed lower classes. Later, ruled by Buddhist religious figure, Dalai Lama, the central Asian nation was overrun by China during this 1959 military action; the small, sparsely populated and non-industrialized state did not stand a chance against the Communist veteran army.
Since this ruthless invasion nearly fifty years ago, there has not only been discord within the ethnically Tibetan regions between the Chinese authorities and the Tibetan peoples, including the strong Buddhist monastic establishment, but the case of the central Asian state has been publicized quite thoroughly in world media. Condemning the Chinese invasive violence, the Dalai Lama, exiled after the Chinese invasion, has repeatedly sought for peace and self-determination for his homeland. As a spiritual leader and religious authority for many, the Dalai Lama has continued to have strong influences on his compatriots, even after losing nominal power.
Most recently, a series of protests and riots broke out in the Chinese-administered provinces of ethnic Tibet, instigated by peaceful demonstrations demanding the release of Buddhist monks who had been imprisoned by the communist authorities. The Chinese government, in true authoritative fashion, put down any opposition, which itself may not have been fully non-violent, through military force.
The Chinese army brutally subdued all protestors, both the peaceful and the aggressive, killing dozens and injuring many more. Moreover, during this entire episode, all foreign media reporters were banned from the area, suggesting that there was much which the Chinese government did not want the world to see as they quelled the justified outcry of a repressed people.
In response to this totalitarian outburst by the Peoples Republic of China, there have been calls for a boycott of the Olympic Games which are to be held in China in a few months. True, no nation has stated that it will remove its athletes; however, private groups and individuals have consistently appeared calling for such action. Even heads of state, especially France's president, Nicholas Sarkozy, have rebuked China for its cruel treatment of Tibetans and repressive practices. Therefore, as the Olympic Games unfold this coming summer, amidst celebrations and jovial crowds, it is imperative that the continued misdoings of the same government as that which is hosting the Games not be forgotten.