The year 2008 is a massive year in terms of sports, in addition to the Euro Championships, the Olympics will return in Beijing at August 8, 2008.
Being Chinese and living in Hong Kong, I sincerely hope this will be the chance for China to show itself to the world, not only as a sporting powerhouse, but also a country that can embrace the Olympics values of liberty and freedom.
Many say that politics don't mix with sports. However, we have seen politics, particularly in China's case, can have a great influence over subsequent actions. One of the hottest topics in the media recently is whether the Beijing Olympics should be boycotted.
Yes, China is a developing a country, and developing very fast. Since Deng's "open door policy" in 1979, China has opened the door to deals of importing and exporting goods in and out of China. Yet, China's Communist system to this day has not changed, although now the leash on the people has loosened a bit.
Critics have said the Chinese Communist Party values simply do not match to the values of the Olympics. Since the turn of the year, China has adapted a bit to the "Olympic way," allowing a wider media coverage (not only the Xinhua News Agency), and respecting more human rights of people.
A big hurdle China must jump over before the Olympics commences is the issue of the Tibetans. They have rioted, looted, and killed several, causing chaos around Tibet, and also making the world think China is not listening to the Tibetans' woes.
The exiled spiritual and to some extent, political leader of Tibet, Dai Lai Lama says they do not want independence, but autonomy. This is a great vision of the Dai Lai Lama as Tibet simply could not survive when given full independence, as the economy could not be sustained without the help of China.
While much of the older generation of Tibetans do listen and follow the leaders' ideals, much of the younger generation are tired of the 50 year wait, and instead come up with more violent reactions.
Tibet is an issue that requires more time to solve. Many countries in the West have been sympathetic to the cause, which can be understood as they support democratic ideals. French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has recently stated that France might consider boycotting the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which is a big gesture of disrespect.
I hope other countries will not follow in France's lead and boycott the Olympics. In my opinion, it would be unwise to do so as that could strain or even worsen relations with China, a emerging superpower in the world.
I sincerely hope the Beijing Olympics will be a good one. I am sure the world will get together and realize the Olympics should not be too political, after all it is a major sporting event, not an election.