Saturday, February 5, 2022




This column in the Washington Post by Barry Svrluga is full of deserved contempt for China and the fact that the Winter Olympic Games are being held there. He writes:

According to Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups, the Chinese government has arbitrarily detained, tortured and forced into labor more than a million Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic population largely in Xinjiang, in the country’s northwest. Beijing has suffocated free speech and dissenting opinion in Hong Kong, quelling even peaceful protests and closing newspapers. It has restricted free religion, speech and movement in Tibet, where it has worked relentlessly to destroy Tibetan culture — often through torture and other means of violence. . . .

The Olympics are supposed to celebrate diversity and inclusion. They are being staged in a country with a one-party government that prefers monoethnicity and is forcibly excluding — and mistreating and worse — swaths of its own people. According to human rights experts, Xi Jinping, the president since 2013, envisions a uniform China without any differences among its ethnic and religious minorities. Xi imagines the ideal Chinese citizen, and it should be replicated 1.4 billion times over: She or he should speak Chinese, express loyalty to the Communist Party, and respect and observe the traditions and customs of the country’s ethnic majority, the Han. . . .

The International Olympic Committee is here by choice — and, apparently, with its eyes closed. The IOC has “awarded” the Games to Beijing twice this century. That’s a stand with the Chinese government, not against it.

(Emphasis in quoted material)

This is fine rhetoric and has the virtue of being true. However, the most significant thing about Svrluga’s column is its dateline: Beijing.

Like the IOC, the Post is in China “by choice.” Svrluga is there covering the Games, as are several others from the Post’s sports page. The paper even had a special section previewing these Olympics.

There’s a word for what it’s doing here — a word the Post liked to invoke when attacking the Trump administration. The Post is “normalizing” the holding of Olympics in a genocidal, totalitarian nation. And this tends to normalize China.

I doubt the Post would be covering Olympics Games held in Saudi Arabia this way. The Saudi government is believed to have been behind the killing of a Post columnist. But the crimes of Red China vastly exceed those of Saudi Arabia.

At most, the Post should have provided perfunctory coverage of these Olympics. Arguably, it shouldn’t have covered them at all.

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