As China prepares for its resplendent Summer Olympics, it nonetheless cannot restrain itself from suppressing dissent. China promised that all accredited journalists covering the games will not be censored. But the Associated Press reported (Nov. 13) that "The Chinese government has created profiles on thousands of foreign journalists coming to report on next summer's Beijing Olympics and is gathering information on thousands more to put into a database."
This policy statement from "a top official" is in context with China's intelligence services also having been "gathering information on foreign activist groups, aiming to head off protests and other political acts." Four days after the AP report, the Washington Post Foreign Service added that a leading "Chinese security official vowed ... to punish anyone who takes part in a political, religious or ethnic demonstration or protest 'in any form'" during the games.
Present at these closely guarded games will be George W. Bush. If he sees discordant protesters being dragged away, will he say anything to reporters there who have not been on China's equivalent of our "watch lists," and are allowed to attend?
But China is also worried, said a senior Olympics official, about "boycott noise" from groups around the world planning such protest against what many call the "Genocidal Olympics."
Right now, however, along with possible boycott of the games, by athletes and prominent international figures who would ordinarily attend, is a campaign directed at the corporate sponsors of the summer Olympics who have invested tens of millions of dollars in the games. They believe their partnership in China's time of glory will reward them with increasing access to China's continually expanding market. For example, General Electric, owner of NBC, has paid $894 million for the rights to broadcast the Genocidal Olympics.
A New York-based human rights organization the nonprofit Dream for Darfur has been in contact with 19 major corporate sponsors of the summer Olympics to persuade them to put life-saving pressure on China's leaders to engage in a final effort to end the genocide in Darfur. No country in the world is more vital to the economy of Sudan, the perpetrator of these mass murders and rapes, than China.
Sudan's president, Gen. Omar al-Bashir, is smugly confident that he has prevented the combined United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force from entering Sudan. Only the prospect of losing China's huge annual purchase of Sudan's oil as well as its other large-scale investments in the country will get al-Bashir to disarm his savage Janjaweed militia and his uniformed soldiers while also grounding his attack helicopters, which keep bombing the black Muslim survivors in Darfur.
Accordingly, Dream for Darfur has asked 19 of China's profit-hungry partners in the summer games to sign a pledge that conditions their continued support for what China calls its "One Dream, One World" Olympics on their telling China to convince al-Bashir to stop blocking the 26,000 U.N. and African mission from rescuing the remaining black African Muslims in Darfur.
Among the corporations contacted are Coca Cola, Panasonic, Volkswagen, Annheuser-Busch (Budweiser), the Adidas Group, McDonalds, Staples, Eastman Kodak and Microsoft.
So far, however, Dream for Darfur reports, not one of those corporations has been "willing to acknowledge publicly that...the ongoing genocide in Darfur is morally unacceptable" for the host of "One World, One Dream."
What, then, can be done to shame these investors in the Olympics to undermine China's utterly crucial support of Sudan, the country continuing to conduct the first genocide of the 21st century?
If the sponsors continue their silence, these corporate sponsors are going to be internationally targeted, as Dream for Darfur also "is working with other advocacy organizations on organizing protest events at sponsors' headquarters, and a mass consumer write-in campaign, as well as contacting the investment community."
Among those working with Dream for Darfur in this campaign are the many groups involved in the Save Darfur coalition, and STAND, a student Anti-Genocide Coalition with more than 700 chapters at schools around the globe.
Mia Farrow, who first unfurled the accusation "Genocide Olympics" and is part for Dream for Darfur, says: "We are appealing to the public ... to put more pressure on these companies (and for) the press do its job...Business is not as usual when we talk about mass atrocities."
So now, everyone who buys the products or services of the corporations can personally help end these atrocities. How many of you care enough about these black African Muslims to stop the further rapes of their women and children and the slaughter of whole families?