Column: Lock up the dissidents, the Olympics are coming

As the 2008 Summer Olympics approach, many people are scratching their heads and asking, "How in
heaven’s nameChinaposter
was Beijing selected as the host city?" The answer is simple: Beijing was chosen because Baghdad was unavailable. Actually, the International Olympic Committee wanted to encourage China to emulate previous hosts and pursue democratic principles. China, in turn, pledged to be good hosts, promising to make athletes and other guests comfortable and, for at least three weeks, suspend all human rights abuses.

It’s a good arrangement, really, opening the door for future Olympics to be held in places such as Tehran, Iran, and Pyongyang, North Korea. I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to the 2020 Guantánamo Bay Olympics. By then, waterboarding will be an official event.

The Beijing Olympics are destined to be the most successful games in Olympic history. And if you don’t believe me, just ask any Chinese journalist who isn’t in prison. "Best Olympics ever," they will say. "That’s what we’ve been told."

If you’re a foreign journalist who disagrees, that’s okay. You have the freedom to say what you want, while people in China have the freedom to believe whatever their government lets them.

Go ahead and put your views on the Internet. China does not block
all websites, only the ones that discuss dangerous topics such as
"democracy," "freedom" and "Tibet." You’ll also be glad to know that China does not try to monitor all Internet searches, only the ones that originate within
the country.

The Olympics are a great opportunity for China to show the world
that it does more than just supply the world with various products. It
also hits people over the head with batons. But it really doesn’t want
to. Some people just insist on putting their heads under the batons.
Others insist on getting themselves tortured or sent to prison.

insisted on all three. The former factory worker, trying to get
land rights for farmers, collected 10,000 signatures for an open
letter, then posted it on the Internet with the title "We want human
rights, not the Olympics." China had no choice but to come down hard on
him, just in case people got the impression that Chinese people lack
human rights.

"We don’t mind people have human rights," a Chinese official said, "but we don’t want people have human wrongs."

China, being a civilized society, doesn’t believe in capital punishment. But many people insist on getting executed. They commit all sorts of crimes, including tax evasion and theft, leaving the government no choice but to execute them. China executes more people than the rest of the world combined — yes, even more than the United States — but on the bright side, China saves thousands of lives through organ donations.

After hearing about China’s treatment of its citizens, you may be concerned about having the Olympics in Beijing. But don’t worry, China has promised not to torture or execute any
of the athletes.

It may, of course, hit a few of them over the head with a baton.

But then, "Baton hitting" is an exhibition sport at this Olympics.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Jun Acebedo says:

    Very nice one.
    I chuckled a lot.

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