COLUMN: IN OUR OPINION
China's eleventh-hour revocation of a visa for American speed-skating gold medalist Joey Cheek, head of Team Darfur, is a transparent political misstep on the eve of the Beijing Games, and will only serve to draw further attention to Chinese entanglement in Sudan.
Team Darfur members are trying to focus world attention on western Sudan where, since the outbreak of war in 2003, an estimated 400,000 people have been killed and up to 2.5 million displaced. Many relief organizations and observers have criticized Beijing for supplying up to $100 million worth of weapons to the Sudanese government, whose president has been indicted on charges of genocide.
China argues that its economic and diplomatic outreach to Sudan is a better approach to solving the Darfur crisis than international sanctions. That already tenuous argument is further undermined by the latest visa rejection. Moreover, China's rejection of visas for particular individuals betrays a systematic effort to silence dissent. The list includes: former Olympian and Team Darfur member Kendra Zanotto; Bob Dietz...