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China Supports Burma’s Junta: Boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics

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China has implored the junta to use “restraint” in its dealings with peaceful protesters, but has vetoed the United Nation Security Counsel’s presidential statement that condemned the crackdown. As news spreads around the world about the struggle occurring in Burma, human rights defenders call for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

On 8 August 2008 the Beijing summer Olympics will begin. The number
eight represents good fortune in China; the date is the twentieth
anniversary of the Burmese prodemocracy uprising that was brutally
suppressed by the junta, killing 3,000. It is without a doubt that the
August 8 start date of the Olympics will be associated with the
struggle in Burma and China’s efforts to resist the UN Security
Council’spresidential statement that was passed last week.

China has come under criticism in recent weeks because as Burma’s
biggest trading partners and weapons supplier, it is the best
positioned to influence the junta and urge them to free Aung San Suu
Kyi. Although a UN Security Councilpresidential statement has been passed condemning the junta’s crackdown, China initially vetoed the presidential statement, calling for a more moderate statement.

Amnesty International along with both regional and international
organisations are pushing for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics,
believing that only strong measures will encourage China to step in and
help in the struggle for democracy in Burma. Human rights organisations
are calling on companies funding the Olympics as well as the European
Union and the United States to formally declare a boycott of the Games.
The suggested boycott could push China into implementing the UNpresidential statement and demonstrating concrete action.

China has become a bigger player in global affairs in recent years, and
has proven helpful in current issues, including urging Pyongyang to
dismantle nuclear weapons in North Korea. Despite economic interests in
Sudan, after threats of an Olympic boycott by human rights
organisations Beijing dropped its objections to sending United
Nations/African Union peacekeeping forces. China may be forced to push
the junta in Burma into implementing procedures outlined by the UN,
including a Human Rights Councilpresidential statement
to investigate the crackdown on the recent uprising. If not, a day that
represent good fortune in China may be tarnished by being associated
with the Burmese bloodshed, both in 1988 and now.