I will not be watching the games this summer (not much of a boycott, since I don't even have a TV, but what else can I do?), since it is increasingly apparent that they will be mainly a massive PR stunt on behalf of the Chinese government. The only thing I worry I will miss out on is some daring act of protest, but no doubt that will be instantly available on Youtube. I do hope that something occurs to make the country's rulers exceedingly uncomfortable while every news agency on earth is covering them live. As inconvenient as the Everest closure is to mountaineers, we can only hope that it will be one more event to focus the world's attention on the deplorable behavior of the Chinese regime. I hope it makes the news, I hope it thereby brings the Nangpa La murders back on the news just in time for the torch relay. Romanian witness Alex Gavan put it in a nutshell:
”China, a country to host the Olympic Games in 2008, is slaughtering its citizens.”
Update, 3-17: Also, lots of interest regarding the Lhasa protests/riots from Dave's Gone China, including translations of Chinese Internet chatter on Tibet (more), which provide an interesting window into how mainstream Chinese see the problem. Reactions are a mixed bag.
Alright, final update for now: The Nepalese deny closures, but the situation remains ambiguous. Meanwhile, here's some reporting from Lhasa. Welcome to interacting with China in the 21st Century, folks. The Everest closures of course pale in comparison with the situation in Lhasa, but I still think they deserve coverage inasmuch as they enlighten us to the realities of life in an unfree society. Your life's ambition, a large portion of your savings, your mountain guiding livelihood, even your subsistance as a sherpa or local purveyor can be demolished on a whim of your government, for the slenderest of PR justifications. The Chinese can also put substantial financial pressure on anyone who might see things differently, as with their 121 million Euro loan to Nepal. And yet we rush to make our economics ever more dependent on China's goodwill. The Taiwanese better not be counting on our protection; we have already been bought, we just don't seem to know it yet.