2008 Olympic Games

The Olympic games are the biggest sporting event in the world, and for a country to be awarded the honour of hosting the event will bring them great prestige. The country will also receive a lot of publicity because all the world’s media will be covering the event.

The Olympics have been used to make political stands through out its history. In 1936 Adolf Hitler used the Olympic games to show the superiority of the Arian race, but black athlete thwarted his plan. In 1972 in Munich Israel terrorists killed Palestine athletes because they knew it would be publicised over the whole world. Also in Moscow in 1980 USA boycotted the Olympic games because they were protesting over Russia invading Afghanistan.

Extract 1 from the Guardian newspaper states that China should not be allowed to host the 2008 Olympic games due to their “appalling record on human rights”. So Extract one is against China hosting the Olympic games. Extract 2 printed also in the Guardian newspaper by was the view of ‘Peoples Daily’. It states that hosting the Olympic games will help China move forward and ‘reform and open up’. Extract 2 agrees with China hosting the Olympic games. To answer the question ‘how do I account for the differences’ of the sources, I will examine the sources by view. I will look at the sources, which look at China negatively, and the sources, which look at China positively, I will then look at the sources that show a balanced view of China.

I each of the sources I will look at different aspects of China and life in the country. I will look at human rights, the environment, the economy and social changes. To begin with I will examine all the sources, which give a negative impression of China. I will look at ‘source b’ this is written by ‘Amnesty International On-line’ in June 2001. This source refers to the ‘brutal killings’ in Tiananmen Square in 1989. It suggests that the protests in Tiananmen Square were peaceful and many ‘unarmed citizens’ were killed. The source also describes the treatment ‘the Tiananmen Mothers’ receive. It states that ‘more than 200 people are still imprisoned’ for their activities during the 1989 protests. This source must be questioned because it may give an unfair opinion. The Christian church set up amnesty International. As China is a communist country there may be conflicts with them. Amnesty International may be trying to damage China’s creditability. Between 2000 and 2002 Amnesty International have been campaigning against the death penalty, which China supports and so Amnesty probably dislike the ideas of China.

The second source I will examine is E. ‘Stefan Landsberger’ who was a lecturer in Chinese affairs in the Netherlands wrote source E. Source E describes the ‘serve environmental pollution’ that China is subject to due to their industrialization and economic developments. This source is negative to China hosting the Olympic games, as it believes China should spend the money on reducing the pollution. This is an opinion of source E. China would argue that most countries produce pollution not just them. They could also claim that it would be unfair for them not to host the Olympic games because they are not the biggest polluters, which n fact is America and if America are allowed to host the games why aren’t they? The figures published in this source would be fairly accurate because the ‘World Health Organisation’, which China is a member of, gives them. As this source is written in the Netherlands the Chinese government have no power of what goes into it.

Next I will look at source G. This source is from ‘The Wire’ published by Amnesty International. It is about China’s ‘strike hard’ campaign. This source is saying that because of China’s poor human rights that they shouldn’t have been given the right to host the Olympic games. But China is less tolerant to crimes to countries in the west. Their ‘zero tolerance’ campaign was set up so more serious crimes are not committed and so other people know the consequences. China could also argue that state in America still use the death penalty and so it would be unfair to discriminate against them and not let them host the Olympic games when America were allowed. The reliability of this source must also be questioned because it is written by ‘Amnesty International’ who does not like the Chinese government because they disagree with their policies. ‘Amnesty International’ is regularly writing articles about China and their poor human rights.

The final source which I will look at which portrays China with a negative image is source I. This source is taken from a textbook named ‘China Since 1900’ and was published in 1988. This source tells us about the ‘One child policy’. This was a series of measures to discourage couples from having more than one child. This was introduced to decrease population. There were many benefits and advantages for having only one child but if you had more than one child you would loss all the benefits. A problem with this policy was that if a family had a girl the parents would murder her so they could boy for a boy. This was because Chinese traditionally value sons more than daughters. As there would have been less people there should have been an improvement in living standards but there wasn’t. This source links in with sources A and B because they all show a lack of personal freedom. This source is portraying the facts and the information is fairly accurate because it comes from a text, which will be used in schools.

I will now move on to look at the sources, which look at China in a positive way. I will start with source A, this is a picture showing a students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The source states that China’s soldiers exercised the ‘highest degree of restraint’ and that if they wanted to the soldiers could have moved past the ‘lone scoundrel’. This image and the commentary were broadcasted on Chinese T.V and so would have been controlled by the Chinese government. All the media in China, including the Internet, newspapers, magazines, radio and the government controlled television. So the media is censored and so we only read and see what the Chinese government wants us to. So the reliability of this source must be questioned because off this.

The second source I will look at is source D; it comes from the South China Morning Post. This source is a one sided opinion, it shows all the positive sides. The source is stating that the infant mortality rate has been reduced; there is improved health care, higher literacy rates, etc. But the infant mortality rate may not have been reduced for girls because many female babies were murdered, so the couples could try again for a boy. This was due to the ‘One Child Policy’. There are several reasons why this source may be unreliable. A newspaper, which is subject to the government censorship, produces it and so we only find out what the government wants us to. There are also no statistics to back it up so we are unable to tell if the source is telling the truth. It also doesn’t say which places have been improved because not all places have.

Next, I will look at source F. Source F is statistics published by the Chinese Government. The source shows Chinas 50 year economic development, it shows that China’s trade partners have increased from 60 to 227, That the literacy levels have risen from 20% to 81%, that the number of medical organisations has increased from 3,000 to 310,000, that the amount of medical workers has gone up from 500,000 to 4,420,000, that life expectancy has risen from 35 years to 71 years and that the gross domestic product has gone from 19 billon dollars to 964 billion dollars. Although these figures may be correct we do not know this for certain because the Chinese government published the report. They may have wanted their country to look more superior to others by lying about the figures. This source only shows the positive section of the economy, it doesn’t show the areas, which may have improved. Also the figures from 1950 will be inaccurate because the present government did not have control of China then.

The final source I will look at which portrays China positively is source H. Source H is published by the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China in the United States. It is a speech that was delivered to the ‘United Nations Commission on Human Rights’ from the Chinese Embassy. It suggests they have made ‘remarkable achievements’ and the views from western powers about China are ‘misinformation’. As this source was a speech to the US, another country China would only state the achievements of its policies because it would not want other countries to discover their weaknesses and flaws. This source disagrees with source G. As this source is saying that the Chinese do not use much capital punishment whereas source G suggest that they use a lot.

The last source I will examine is Source C. This source gives a balanced image of China. Source C is from World Family, a magazine of PLAN international UK, a charity organisation. The source states that some parts of China, have developed into and ‘increasing liberal economic climate’. But it also says that a huge number of people ‘1.3 billon of the population are still living in poverty’. This source gives a two-sided opinion. It states the positives and it also states the negatives. But this source was published by a charity and may only be stating the positives because it may rely on the government and may not want to upset them. It may also be showing that this is what has been achieved by there campaigning and to encourage people to give money. It shows the negative points about people still living in poverty because this it what they are trying to end and trying to raise money for. So this source may not be that reliable due to those reasons.

After looking at all of the sources I have decided that the sources are show different views on whether China should host the Olympic games because they are written by different people. E.g the sources written by the Chinese government only reflect Chinas good points where as sources written by Amnesty and other countries from the west only show the negative points of China. So this makes the sources unreliable because the West does not like China due to it appalling human rights, and they are exaggerating all their weaknesses. Where as the sources written by the East have been censored by the Chinese Government, or written by the government and also only exaggerate the good points of China. Here is only one source which has a balanced opinion on China and that’s source C. But again this source is also unreliable because it’s from a charity organisation, so they do not want to upset the Chinese government by criticising the country because they want money from them.

The sources, which could be used to argue for China hosting the Olympic games, are A, D, F and H. These sources are all written by the Chinese government or under their control and only have a one sided opinion, which makes them unreliable to use. The sources, which could be used to argue against China hosting the Olympic games are A, D, F, and H. But these sources are not entirely accurate or reliable because they are written by the West and focus mainly on the bad points. Certain places in the West do not agree with China hosting the Olympic games and so have tried to damage Chinas credibility.

The Chinese believe that many other improvements have been made in their country E.g. increased literacy levels, improved health care, reduced infant mortality etc, and their human rights should not be the only issue considered.

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