Monday, 7 April 2008

'Olympics and politics don't mix'

So says Paula Radcliffe. Of course, the Chinese Government has a very different view. So for us to pretend that the Olympics is nothing more than a sporting event defined by 'the Olympic spirit' is insanely naive.

The IOC has made an horrendous error in awarding the Olympic games to China. It has rewarded the Chinese Government for brutal internal suppression, eradication of dissent, elimination of free speech, and support for murderous and genocidal regimes such as those in Sudan and Burma and received nothing in return by way of an improved human rights record.

Hu Jia, the jailed dissident, wrote a J'accuse and it is available here. Ms Radcliffe may find it interesting to know just how political the Olympic games are for China. Perhaps the 400,000 people who have yet to be re-settled after their homes have been demolished due to Olympic construction understand a bit better the inter-weaving of politics and sport?

"One world, one dream," is the slogan of the Beijing Olympic games. What use is an Olympic dream that has no regard for human rights? I'm afraid the joke is very much on us. And it's not very funny. Perhaps we should be rather more embarrassed about that celeb-fest (Trevor McDonald? Sugababes? Konnie Huq? why?) to carry the torch through London that was arranged yesterday?

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