There’s a lot of hot air spouted, usually among politicians, about not mixing sport and politics. Much is said of the sportsmen and women losing out to political dog-fighting, particularly over such events as the Olympics.
Frankly, the hypocrisy is hard to stomach.
Can it truly not be argued that the IOC made a political decision when it decided to award the 2008 games to China? Whether or not that decision was made under political pressure will probably never been known for sure, but it’s a fair bet that it was. It’s also odds-on the pressure came from the United States, a country that owes China big, and the one likely to wield most influence over the International Olympic Committee.
Today, China sentenced a young man, Hu Jia, to three and a half years in jail. His charge was “inciting subversion of state power and the socialist system”. Hu Jia was, in fact, guilty of peacefully campaigning “for the environment, religious freedom and for the rights of people with HIV and Aids”. Two weeks ago, Yang Chunlin, another campaigner, was jailed on similar charges.
Most of us will be aware of the recent inhumane treatment meted out to Tibetans desperately trying to wrest their country from Chinese occupation over the last fifty years. It seems the Chinese dictatorial government has little respect for humanity, either in the East or the West, as it ruthlessly dispenses its malevolent punishments.
It is no longer a question of the separation of sport and politics. Some are suggesting world leaders should boycott the opening ceremony. How weak and spineless can one be? There is only one right course of action to be taken, by competitors and politicians alike. The games should be the subject of a concerted Western boycott.
Like the judgment to wage war in Iraq, the initial flawed decision by the IOC to choose Beijing cannot now be undone. As in Iraq, the only course of action is a withdrawal. It is time for competitors and politicians from around the globe, whose consciences one hopes are troubling them, to say enough is enough.
Leaving China with a massive failure would show that country how their human rights record is really viewed by the world. Individuals should consider carefully the effects of their attendance.
To suggest, as China and many western politicians have done, that politics and sport should not mix, is phony. Today, it would seem the Olympics is all about politics. The sport is only a sideline.
Filed under: Olympic embarrassment