Revolution#127, April 20, 2008

Some Points to Consider about the Efforts to Boycott the China Olympics

Dear Revolution,

This past week, we have seen days of headlines about protestors trying to stop the Olympic torch and politicians like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have suggested some kind of boycott of the opening ceremonies.

In light of all this I’d like to offer these points to consider as some basic points of orientation:

1. China is NOT a socialist country today, but a society ruled by a new capitalist class dependent on imperialism.

2. In the Maoist years, when China was a revolutionary and socialist society (1949-1976), the old feudal system of oppression and exploitation was uprooted through revolutionary struggle and enormous strides were made in overcoming the legacy of national oppression and social and economic backwardness. This real history of Tibet has been terribly distorted and misrepresented, especially in the western press.

3. There is a just struggle against the oppression of the Tibetan people and against the punishing consequences of capitalist development in China.

4. The U.S. has a long history of backing reactionary forces in Tibet—the CIA has worked with and directly supported the Dalai Lama. And far from being a force for progress and social justice, the Dalai Lama is tied into Western imperialism, particularly the United States. Sections of the U.S. ruling class are championing the Dalai Lama and his movement to try and pressure, destabilize, and even tear China apart because they consider it a long-term strategic, economic, political, and military rival to U.S. global power.

5. The high-level efforts to organize a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in the name of Tibetan people’s rights is, in its principal aspect, a maneuver by western imperialism, and the U.S. in particular, to advance geo-strategic advantage against China. This is true, even though there are many progressive forces and sentiments involved in the boycott efforts.

The current conflict in Tibet is complex, involving different class forces and interests and different political forces, including religious reactionary groups tied to U.S. imperialism. And this is all happening within a bigger international framework. I encourage people to read the article, “The Protests in Tibet and the Discontent Below” (Revolution #125, available at which discusses this and helps clear up confusion people have about the history of Tibet and the various class forces involved in this current struggle.

Li Onesto, writer for Revolution Newspaper

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond