On the San Francisco Olympic Torch Relay
The Olympic Charter states that the goal of the Olympic games should be to promote 'a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.' The Chinese government has failed to live up to the commitments it made before being awarded the Olympic games to improve its human rights situation. In fact, there is disturbing new evidence that it is conducting a broader crackdown on human rights in China and Tibet because of the Olympics.
For the next four months, the International Olympic Committee and Chinese officials will parade the Olympic torch through dozens of countries and even through Tibet. The torch will be met by politicians and heads-of-state from all over the world along a 'journey of harmony.' It is the Chinese government that is making the Olympic torch relay a political event.
Freedom-loving people around the world are vigorously protesting because of the crackdown in Tibet and Beijing's support for the regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma. The people are making a significant statement that the Olympic ideals of peace and harmony should apply to all people, including those in Tibet and Darfur.
San Francisco is blessed by a large and vibrant Chinese American community. As San Franciscans, we embrace the diversity of our community and we value the contributions made in every corner of our great city. We also value free expression, and this week, many will exercise this right by demonstrating against the Olympic torch. I urge all those who protest to do so peacefully and respectfully. I commend those who speak out for their commitment to shining a light on the causes that challenge the conscience of the world.