Calls for Olympic boycott as Tibetans (and Björk) protest


As protests in Tibet over Chinese rule have left anywhere from 10 to 100 people dead, many are calling for a boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Meanwhile, Reporters without Borders is campaigning for a boycott, too, calling the country “the world’s biggest prison for journalists and cyber-dissidents.” Its list of nine failings by China range from the jamming of foreign radio signals and blocking of websites to the jailing of internet users and reporters. Download a RSF/Beijing 2008 web banner or gif here.

And at a concert in Shanghai March 2, Björk upset some fans when she shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” near the end of the song “Declare Independence.” First dedicated to the Faroe Islands, remote islands with traditional ties to Greenland but a province of Denmark, the songs lyrics include the lines, “Don’t let them do that to you. Raise your flag!”

China denounced the act, saying that Björk “not only broke Chinese laws and regulations and hurt the feelings of Chinese people, but also went against the professional code of an artist.” Underscoring that it understands what art is all about, it then promptly blocked access for its citizens to the Icelandic artist’s website.

3/19/08 update
As activists say Tibetan protesters are being “shot like dogs,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is calling on the EU to boycott the opening ceremonies — but why not the whole shootin’ match? — of the Olympic games in Beijing.