Thursday, March 20, 2008

if a crowd roars in the stadium, and nobody covers it, does it make a noise?

Clearly, no country can afford to boycott the Beijing Olympics, despite the compelling reasons to do so. But the world's major media outlets could. Imagine the impact if no reporters turned up. The broadcast would go forward--too much money has been invested. But what if nobody tuned in?

A news media and fan blackout could actually be more effective than a national boycott.

The question is whether anybody has the balls, or we'll once again trot out our platitudes about objectivity.

I guess you already know the answer to that one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I lived in Beijing from 1994 to 1996 and again in 1998. I still have many friends in China, and I consider myself to be "a friend to China" as the old phrase goes.

In spite, or perhaps because of that, I was dismayed to see that Beijing has once again opted for a violent solution to civil protest in Tibet over its continuous and absolute suppression of individual freedoms.

The only morally acceptable response is to to boycott the Beijing Olympics. If we don't, and we certainly will not, addicted as we are to cheap Chinese goods, nothing we will say about human rights will have a shred of credibility.

Already, I have been blacklisted by the CHinese embassy in Delhi because I foolishly sought a journalist visa to write what would have been a very complimentary article about the Chinese auto industry. (Meanwhile, in India, I have complete freedom to try to unearth stories of scandal and corruption wherever I may find them). I'm systematically forcing myself to forget my Chinese, driving it out with Hindi. Now I'll go a step further.

I will not watch a minute of the Olympics. I won't read a word about it. I don't care who wins. AS far as I'm concerned, it has already been a colossal failure for China, proving that no matter how fast their economy grows and how vibrant their people bloom, the government will remain paranoid, weak and petty.