I love the olympics. My grandfather attended the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles and brought back an Olympic keychain that I used for two decades before the clasp broke. I have pins from every Olympiad since my birth. I'd love to take a class at Regent College in the winter of 2010 just so I can be in town for the Vancouver Winter Games. I'm hoping Chicago gets to host the 2016 Olympics so I can volunteer.
Every Olympiad, both summer and winter, I spend two weeks engrossed in obscure events and medal counts. I find myself caught up in the competitions and the stories of the individual athletes, as well as in the global community the Games foster.
But I've been conflicted about the 2008 Games ever since they were awarded to Beijing. As many have noted, China's human-rights record is tainted with abuses. The international community has rightly been concerned about China's relationships with Tibet and Sudan.
In addition, I am a second-generation Taiwanese American, and Taiwan and China have been at odds for decades. Part of me feels kinship with Chinese culture and history, while another part carries a fierce sense of Taiwanese independence.
A few years ago, I visited mainland China, and I had an uneasy feeling at the Beijing airport. It was akin to how an American might have felt visiting the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics marked the transition from Athens to Beijing with a cultural display of Chinese dance and music. I realized that I can honor China's 5,000-year history, which far transcends China's modern-day Communist rule. I can affirm my Chinese ethnic heritage even if I find myself protesting certain aspects of the present Chinese government. I can also celebrate the redemptive ...1