Roger L. Simon

China and Tibet: Will Athletes Desert the Olympics

Watching the coverage of the Beijing smog, which makes LA look like Lapland, on cable news in the run-up to the Olympics, I kept wondering how the athletes could want to compete in this stuff. Now I wonder if they will:

BEIJING – Protests led by Buddhist monks against Chinese rule in Tibet turned violent Friday, bathing Lhasa in smoke from tear gas, bonfires and burned shops, and posing a challenge to China on whether its image can withstand a harsh crackdown ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

At least 10 people were burned to death in the violence, according to a state media report.

You don’t have to be Richard Gere to feel queasy about all this. But if the Beijing Olympics come a cropper, the smoke coming out of China may be more lethal than any of us predicted.