Olympic stars 'tainted'

  octal 17:56 29 Aug 08
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Or has this guy missed the point of the Olympic games? I was under the impression the Olympic games where above politics? China's human rights record isn't going to go away overnight, by not taking part isn't going to prove anything. It must very upsetting for the athletes to read things like this, and they probably wonder why they bother.

  newman35 18:14 29 Aug 08

Nothing is above politics (at least according to politicians!!).

I must say I have a certain amount of sympathy for his view, particularly his comparison with Afghanistan troops etc., but he was over the top in the way it was presented and should not have been an 'attack' on the athletes.

  Forum Editor 18:22 29 Aug 08

and I can see quite a bit of sense in the point of view underlying this man's colourful choice of words. All my life I've heard sportsmen and women justifying the fact that they compete in and against countries with bad human rights records by saying 'sport should be above politics'.

I say 'rubbish' to that argument - human rights isn't about politics, it's about recognising every person's right not to be persecuted or tortured because of his or her beliefs, it's about allowing people freedom of expression and the right to come and go as they please. In essence it's about allowing people all of the civil liberties that we, in this country, take for granted.

I know that athletes train long and hard to prepare themselves for competition, but I've met people in China who have trained long and hard to become superb computer software writers, and web designers, and network designers. They're being held back because their government won't allow them free access to the internet, and because they must comply with all kinds of oppressive government interference. There are people in Tibet who have studied long and hard to become experts in the history and culture of their homeland, but they can't put their knowledge to good use because of the Chinese oppression under which they are forced to live.

Athletes aren't gods, they're just people who have become proficient in a specific discipline, and yes, they can excite crowds of people with the excellence of their performances, but there are some other, equally important - some will say far more important - things in life. It's very easy for us to sit here in the land of the free and get all dewy eyed about Team GB, but things look a tad different for millions of Chinese citizens. If we're to exert any influence as a nation on the world stage - and we can - we have to occasionally take a longer view. Let's take pride in our athletes' achievements by all means, but let's also consider the appalling truth that lurks behind the glitz and the razamatazz of a couple of astronomically expensive weeks in Beijing.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 18:38 29 Aug 08

Nothing more to add but I do agree with him. Strange how people can always justify themselves by using the excuse of sport...cobblers I say.

'by not taking part isn't going to prove anything.' good to hear a defeatist attitude.

'It must very upsetting for the athletes to read things like this, and they probably wonder why they bother.'..it must be a tad upsetting for the thousands of Chinese people chucked out of their houses for games that cost £1.2Bn a day, with no compensation and the thousnds 'interned' whilst a load of single-minded athletes moan about how hard they are done to by not having enough funding...pack the sick bag Ethel.

Anyone who thinks that China is going to recoup it's money is living in La-la land with the tree fairies.

G

  Belatucadrus 13:44 30 Aug 08

"but are helping to open China to the world, and the world to China," the mayor's spokesman said."

I think the mayor' spokesman is definitely in La-la land, the recent sentencing of an elderly couple to a years reeducation through labor for daring to apply to use an official "protest zone" to complain as their home had been demolished to make way for a new stadium and they hadn't received any compensation shows just how little notice the Chinese authorities paid to the much vaunted "Olympic ideals".

Combine totalitarianism with a sudden acquisition of commercial nous with the western dedication to shift all services and manufacturing to the cheapest labor point and I see them ruling the world before too long.

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