As China continues its policy of suppression in Tibet, there is increasing voice linking China’s action in Tibet with the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
On March 22, 2008, a leading environmentalist of Thailand, M.R. Narisa Chakrabongse, withdrew from her position as one of the Thai torch bearers saying she “will not participate in the torch-running ceremony at the Beijing Olympic Games in response to the severe violation of human rights in Tibet,” according to a report in the Bangkok Post.
In her statement released to the media, M.R. Narisa, the founder and chairwoman of Bangkok-based Green World Foundation, said she was taking the action to “send a clear signal to China that its actions could not be accepted by the international community.”
The torch is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok on April 19 from India.
“The slaying of the Tibetans since the middle of March is an outright violation of human rights,” M.R. Narisa said. “It happened two weeks before the Olympic torch bearer leaves Athens and five months before the Olympics Games,” she added.
“This reflects the Chinese government’s negligence of world sentiment.”
The Bangkok Post report said, “The pullout from the ceremony by M.R. Narisa will put heavy pressure on other Thai NGOs selected to participate in the torch relay in Thailand, because she has impeccable credentials as a leader of so-called green activities.”
The GWF chairwoman had been invited by Coca-Cola Thailand to participate in the torch ceremony, the Post reported in the article headlined “Thai takes a stand.”
In Taiwan, the president-elect Ma Ying-jeou, who won the elections on March 22, 2008, repeated his position that Taiwan would consider boycotting the Beijing Olympics if the situation in Tibet does not improve. Addressing the media in Taipei, Ma said, “If the situation in Tibet worsens, we would consider the possibility of not sending athletes to the Games.”
In Europe, the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, was reported as saying on March 22, 2008 that if the Chinese Government gives no indication of compromise on the issue of Tibet, boycott of the Olympics would be justified.
“Beijing must decide itself, it should immediately negotiate with the Dalai Lama,” Hans-Gert Poettering was quoted by Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
“If there continue to be no signals of compromise, I see boycott measures as justified,” Poettering is quoted as saying.
The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee will discuss the situation in Tibet on March 26, 2008 with the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Karma Chopel, testifying before it, according to DPA.
The former British cabinet minister Michael Portillo said on Sunday that if the situation in Tibet deteriorates, pressure will grow to connect the Olympics with Tibet. In an article in the Sunday Times on March 23, 2008, titled “Tibet: the West can use the Olympics as a weapon against Beijing” Portillo said, “If the situation in Tibet deteriorates, pressure will grow to use the Olympics as a weapon against Beijing. If China continues to thwart western journalists in their attempts to report dissent, the hostility of the world’s media can be guaranteed. However, if it allows events to be reported, the protesters will seize their chance.”