Illustration by Wade Mickley

China is not only one of the worst human rights offenders in the world, but its leaders are also just as horrible toward the environment.

A boycott would be an effective way to send a message to the Chinese government from countries like ours, who will be the source of billions of dollars worth of tourism and commercial profit.
—W. Loy, Richmond, Va.
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The Chinese Government is not only severely repressive toward its own citizens, but it is also incredibly apathetic to human rights. The Darfur genocide is being funded directly by the Chinese government’s purchases of oil from Sudan. Over 400,000 Darfuris have been murdered, yet China is continuing to fund the paramilitary regime’s atrocities for economic gain. I cannot shut my ears to the oppressed, and I will not take part in anything glorifying China and its government until they remove their funding of mass murder. Then perhaps we can celebrate their achievements for humanity.

—Drew Miller, Johns Island, S.C.

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The only reason I support a boycott of the opening ceremonies is in order to bring attention to the freeing of Tibet. If we truly want to free Tibet, now is the time to press the Chinese government. I don’t believe the extra attention to the boycotting of the Olympic Games or ceremonies will actually free Tibet, but the attention will give viewers worldwide a better idea of what Tibetans have had to endure for way too long.

—Brian R. Davenport, Charleston, S.C.
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There are times when human rights trump the importance of large-scale sports sponsored by global corporations. The Olympics has already been taken away from the athletes and turned into a platform for commercialism. The issue of freedom for peaceful Tibet has greater moral weight than does participating in a spectacle that has already been politicized by China. However, each athlete has the personal freedom to decide what is right.
—Freeman Allan, Crozet, Va.
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Words mean nothing to the Chinese government. Only actions that express our willingness to place our values of democracy and freedom of expression ahead of our desire for personal success or profit will send a message to China that their actions will have real consequences. Who wants to watch a sanitized, government-edited version of the Olympics anyway?

—Thomas Schaad, Arlington, Va.
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The Olympics are not supposed to be political. If the U.S. government, other governments, or other groups have a concern about China, they should voice it directly to them rather than through an international celebration of sport.

—Mark Wenger, Williamsburg, Va.

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We shouldn’t boycott anything. The spirit of the Olympics is to put aside those differences and celebrate our citizens and their abilities.
—Danielle Cain, Charleston, S.C.
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The Olympic movement was founded on peaceful celebration among nations. Dragging politics into this arena is disgusting to me. I hate to see athletes used as pawns in some political game. Let sport be sport; let politics be politics.

—Mike McCall, Hudson, N.C.

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The games are about the athletes and the sport…not the place the people go to compete in the sport. How do China’s politics and our view of them ruin the sprinter that has trained hard or the diver that just made the team? Don’t let our politics ruin our athletes’ dreams of gold!
—Matt Marcus, Atlanta, Ga.
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You can’t punish those who have worked all of their life to achieve the goal of being Olympic athletes because of the abuses of the country sponsoring the games. We did that when the games were in Russia, and what did it change?
—Joe McAlister, Greer, S.C.
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The U.S. needs to quit meddling in foreign affairs that don’t directly affect us. I think the world is a little sick of us playing global cop when it suits us.

I don’t think we should turn a blind eye to China’s human rights violations by any means, but an Olympic boycott is over the top. To insult China on the world stage would have terrible consequences in terms of future relations with the emerging superpower.
—Frank Palmieri, Charlotte, N.C.
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Our government singlehandedly destroyed the hopes and dreams of our athletes in 1980 with the boycott of the Moscow Olympics. Even something as simple as boycotting just the opening ceremonies could backfire on our kids. I want us to stay out of the fray.
—Joan Haney, Dingmans Ferry, Pa.


ONLINE RESULTS: 55% NO | 45% YES