With the start of the Summer Olympics drawing near, an expert panel met recently at the Carnegie Council to discuss "Olympic Mettle: Business, Civil Society, and Politics During the Beijing Games."
The event featured scholar and journalist Ian Buruma; General Electric's vice president of corporate citizenship Bob Corcoran; Qi Qianjin of the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the UN; and Minky Worden, media director of Human Rights Watch and editor of China's Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges. Journalist Thomas Crampton joined the group via video from Hong Kong, and Devin Stewart, director of the Council's Global Policy Innovations program, moderated.
The very fact that the Chinese government permitted one of their officials to take part in a public discussion like this shows how much China has opened up in the last 30 years. Topics included the challenges corporations face in operating ethically and yet staying competitive, and a debate on whether durable good government and the exercise of human rights are possible in systems where officials are not democratically elected.
This event was part of the Carnegie Council's Workshops for Ethics in Business series, which brings together top corporations and NGOs to share best practices in addressing ethical problems that organizations face. It was sponsored by Booz & Company's strategy+business magazine, with additional support from Eli Lilly and New York University's Center for Global Affairs.
- To see a video of the Olympic Mettle event, click here
- To listen to it or read the transcript, click here
- To read an event summary with video clips, click here
- To see Thomas Crampton's video in its entirety, click here
Be sure to check out the Policy Innovations "Fairer Globalization" blog for frequent posts about the Games and other China issues.
Please see these additional resources on the Games (in chronological order):
One World, Many Slogans
Christina L. Madden, Carnegie Council
Just as China is using the Olympic Games to improve its image, some companies are using the Games to improve their corporate responsibility profiles. (Policy Innovations, April 4, 2008)
A Wolf in Monk's Clothing?
Matthew Hennessey, Carnegie Council
He has reverent followers around the world, but inside China the Dalai Lama is not universally loved. Hennessy sat down with a number of young Chinese-American students to investigate these attitudes. (Policy Innovations, April 3, 2008)
Beijing Serves Up Sports Etiquette
Abigail Paris, Carnegie Council
China is training its spectators in cheering, clapping, and how to handle the occasional volleyball that flies into the stands. Mannered reactions are the goal—China is gunning for a perfect ten in Olympic hosting. (Policy Innovations, April 2, 2008)
Moral Medals: The Summer Games Will be Won Off the Field
Sacha Tessier-Stall, Nin-Hai Tseng, Carnegie Council
With violence in Darfur and Tibet, competition at the Olympics this summer will be political as well as athletic. (Policy Innovations, April 1, 2008)
Will China "Lose" the 2008 Olympics?
Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group
The Chinese Communist Party hoped to use the Games to showcase the country's emergence as a dynamic, modern nation. But as China's leaders begin final preparations for next August, they may be wondering if hosting the event was such a good idea after all. (Policy Innovations, November 29, 2007)
Next Year In Beijing?
Madeleine Lynn, Carnegie Council
When will China publicly acknowledge what really happened on June 4, 1989? Just as in Taiwan, change in China must surely come from within. But the rest of the world has a role to play also, and the Beijing Games provide an opportunity to do so. (Carnegie Ethics Online, June 4, 2007)