Competition but not Confrontation at the Olympics
By Charles Sie
The 20,000 reporters from all over the world covering the Olympics in Beijing would do well to follow the spirit of "Competition but not Confrontation." They should understand the only sustainable political relationship between the Chinese people and their government has to evolve from China’s own historical perspective. We should share our sense of values and experience with China but not to dictate to her on what that relationship should be.
In 1776, our democracy was defined and established exclusively for the colonial landowners. Through the framework of our constitution, subsequently all of the people, including women, Asians, and African Americans, were included in our democracy by the second half of the twentieth century. In contrast, China was exploited by the Western powers and ruled by an ineffectual feudal system in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In its 60 years of existence, the People's Republic of China has weathered the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen incident and it has finally achieved a sense of modernity on its own terms. It has lifted 250 million of its people out of poverty in a single generation; a feat unheard of in human history.
By participating in globalization, China has contributed toward the living standard not only of its people but also of the world. Its political system regarding democracy and human rights should be defined by the Chinese themselves, especially by the rapidly emerging middle class. China understands the necessity and importance of the rule of law in managing a multi-ethnic nation to meet the expectations of its people.
The recent distorted reporting of the riot in Tibet by the Western press and the subsequent interference with the Olympic torch relay in Paris has infuriated the Chinese people. Those who attend the Olympics should respect the sensitivity of the hosting nation on this issue. The Olympics in Beijing provide a wonderful opportunity for China and the world not only to compete on the athletic fields but also to share ideas with each other in building a better tomorrow--together. The future of the world is "Competition but not Confrontation."
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[keywords: sustainable political relationship, democracy, feudal system, rule of law