Wednesday, October 18th 2017

Tibet and the 2008 Summer Olympics: It’s not just politics

How the Beijing Olympics made Tibet a wedge issue between China and the West

headshot.jpgGUEST COLUMN: SHARON BROCK — The global appeal of the Olympics is vested in a time-honored ideal of one-world peace. To bring the world together through a shared love of human *being*, embodied by the dreams and devotion of young athletes. The Olympics is an answer to the Babel conundrum: A way to communicate and gather, even when we can’t speak each others’ languages.


At the Olympic torch relay in San Francisco, I felt a mix of emotions. There was a flurry of flags, both Chinese and Tibetan, flying right next to each other. There was the overall excitement about the Olympic games, as well as pride welling from the large contingent of Chinese-American immigrants living in San Francisco — waving their flags with such joy. But, only steps away, were Tibetans picketing with graphic photos of torture, photos of the kidnapped Panchen Lama, and signs asking — “What will the Olympics stand for this summer?”

So here is a paradox: the games are being held in a country that stands for anything but peace. It’s a regime responsible for decades of torture rained down upon the Tibetan people. While the city of Beijing is celebrating, with marching bands and dancing dragons, six million people in Tibet are still being stuffed-down — and in some cases, tortured — right now.

They wore mock-handcuffs parodying the Olympic rings, and protesters chanted: “Shame on China” for smiling and enjoying the Olympic festivities while this devastation is happening in their name.


The pain of the Tibetans appeared more real to me than ever before.

Now, the bigger picture. Some citizens of San Francisco — the only North American stop for this cycle of the games — were upset that they didn’t get to see the torch.

As Marshal McLuhan said, we live in global village: Because of all the protesters and a torch-runners being attacked in London and Paris, the mayor’s office in San Francisco (which employs the local police) re-routed the torch, sending it by boat, van, and over the Golden Gate Bridge — and alternately warehousing it, and zig-zagging it. There was a rumor it even traveled by bus.

But what ‘s worse? Not getting to see the torch as a tourist attraction, or millions of Tibetans being torched over the past 70 years?

Some people are saying, keep politics out of it, these are the Olympics — and it’s supposed to be fun.

Right, like this country *did* boycott the Olympics under Jimmy Carter in reaction to the USSR’s attack on Afghanistan (and China! did, too). But, I think this is finally a forum where Tibetans can register their message — and we will be there for them — on a global scale. It takes something as big as the Olympics to generate this kind of energy and exposure.

People all around me were asking, what’s going on in Tibet? What’s all the protesting for? With increased knowledge and awareness, perhaps countries like the U.S. will do something about it, like stand up to China and say they won’t trade with the PRC unless they stop their terrorism in Tibet.

I don’t believe in coincidences. Perhaps Beijing was chosen as the location for the Olympics because the time has come for Tibet to be free. I believe every action and decision is either done through a lens of ego, or a lens of oneness. A lens of ego manifests in acts of defensiveness and divisiveness (us vs. them). A lens of oneness manifests in acts of unity and compassion (we are the same). The Chinese regime acts from a lens of ego — and Tibet acts from a oneness. I’m not saying all Chinese people think this way; I’m only referring to the governmental regime.

I think the forum of the Olympics is enabling Tibetans to unleash their message of oneness into the world psyche, helping people across the globe shift from a perspective of ego to oneness. It will make this summer’s Olympics another example of how the collective awareness of the human race is rising at such an exponential rate during this time on earth.

Sharon Brock is a writer living in San Francisco. She was certified as a hatha yoga instructor in the fall of 2007 in India

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2 Comments on “Tibet and the 2008 Summer Olympics: It’s not just politics”

  1. very cool way of looking at the situation in china/tibet sharon! what seems like a negative can be turned around to a positive. we need to do more of that in our lives!

  2. We feel your energy, and enjoy your passion.

    Are you an Obama voter? Doesn't all this fit together ??

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