Beijing Olympics

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

Central Conference of American Rabbis Resolution on the Beijing Olympics

Adopted by the Board of Trustees – June 2008
Central Conference of American Rabbis


The government of the People’s Republic of China has a long history of violating the human rights of its own citizens and has played a key role in undermining international actions on behalf of human rights in other countries.  The government of China continually provides financial support to countries that abuse human rights, while also providing political support, through a variety of means including its veto power as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Within China itself, the government has oppressed religious and ethnic groups, including the Falun Gong, Protestant and Catholic independent churches and Muslim Uighers, as well as political dissidents and civil rights advocates. 

China annexed Tibet, against the will of that nation’s citizens.  Just as the Chinese government suppresses dissent within its original borders, it silences peaceful protests calling for autonomy in Tibet. Furthermore, the Chinese government continues to refuse to negotiate with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s religious and spiritual leader.

China is the largest consumer of Sudanese oil and the largest supplier of weapons to Sudan’s government.  China’s leadership has also repeatedly opposed the efforts of the United States and other members of the international community to impose United Nations sanctions upon Sudan.  These efforts are more than warranted by the Sudanese government’s direct and indirect involvement in mass murder and ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

Furthermore, the Chinese government has economically and politically supported the military junta in Burma, which has oppressed its own people for nearly twenty years; and which, most recently, suppressed peaceful mass protests by Buddhist monks.

In addition, the Chinese government’s support for the repressive regime in North Korea cannot be ignored. 

Nevertheless, at present, the President of the United States has announced his continuing intention to attend the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  This would be the first time an American President would attend the Opening Ceremonies of a foreign-hosted Games.

We must not allow the 2008 Beijing Olympics celebration to divert attention from the Chinese government’s human rights violations and support for genocide.   We, the Jewish people, have a special obligation to stand with the victims of this year’s Olympic host.

While we celebrate the Olympic ideal of finding common cause in a celebration of sport as a haven of cooperation and peace in a difficult world, the words of Leviticus 19:16, Lo taamod al dam rei-echa,“Do not stand idly while your neighbor bleeds,” move us to raise our voices to protest ongoing, egregious violations of human rights by the current government of China.

Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Central Conference of American Rabbis:

  • Calls upon all people, including athletes participating in the Beijing Olympics, to find ways to express their solidarity with the victims of Chinese policies;
  • Calls upon the President of the United States to cancel plans to attend the 2008 Beijing Olympics;
  • Shall participate in efforts to promote an end to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses and its support of such abuses abroad even after the Olympics are completed; and encourages its members and others in the Reform Movement to do the same.