One craftsman’s boycott of the Olympics

One craftsman’s boycott of the Olympics

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In the months leading up to the Olympics in Beijing, the resounding storyline has not been the anticipation of the actual competition, but of the fiery protests over China’s involvement in Tibet and Darfur.

Some of the demonstrators have lined the streets with signs in hand, demanding to be heard; others, like director Steven Spielberg and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, have waged solo battles against China. In this article in the Los Angeles Times, Bruce Wallace tells the tale of 74-year-old Masahisa Tsujitani, master shot craftsman, who will not be issuing his products to Olympians.

Tsujitani has produced shots for the last four Olympics but is boycotting the Beijing Games after several incidents involving China:

Tsujitani said he had planned his Olympic boycott even before the Tibet violence. He was appalled by incidents such as the rough treatment of a visiting Japanese soccer team by Chinese fans three years ago as well as the anti-Japanese riots that many here are convinced were stoked by the government in Beijing.

Beijing’s harsh reaction last month to sometimes violent protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule merely convinced him that he’d been right all along. “I am not anti-Chinese whatsoever,” said Tsujitani, who says he’s visited China four times and has friends there.

. . .

“I just wanted the Chinese government to ask themselves why one man would not send something like shots to their Olympics,” he said. “I wanted them to be embarrassed. But I doubt they’ll get it.”

Here’s an interview with Tsujitana (in Japanese):

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