Today I'm recommending that everyone check out Sally Jenkins' editorial in the Washington Post, A Torch Job To Liberty. Sally is one of the most respected sports writers of her generation and I count myself among her admirers.
That said, I encourage everyone to then read the readers' comments that her column inspired - both supporting her position and refuting it. The best posts, of course, are the ones that dare to take a careful, nuanced look at a stunningly complex issue, something that, sadly, I don't think Jenkins accomplished with her piece.
In the next day or so I'll write a post that directly addresses the issues in Jenkins' commentary - both because Game 2 of the Rockets-Jazz playoff series tips off in three hours and I'm covering the game, so I need to run, and because I'd like some time to think through the issues. It's always a complicated task to look at an editorial written by someone who has spent far less time in China than I have (you can measure it in years) and to try to inject nuance and discipline into the discussion. I'll do it - it's just going to take a day or two to sit down and think through these issues.
But I need to say one thing. The Olympics are good for China and the world - especially if they inject 20,000 journalists into the country and help push the Chinese government to start improving faster in the areas of human rights, press freedoms and their troubled relationship with the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet. Take the IOC to task for not pushing the Chinese government harder, perhaps - but do not for one moment think that there is any such thing as the black hats of China and the white hats of [fill in the name of your favorite Western country here]. It is not a popular viewpoint in this part of the world - somebody posted a rude comment about one of my posts on the topic on this very blog a while back - but when we decry the plight of migrant workers in China and do not reflect on where our cheap fruit comes from right here in the West, we're being stunningly hypocritical.
More to come later.