Monday, April 07, 2008

Chinese Olympics

In 1938 the England football team were asked to give the Nazi salute in Berlin before a game against Germany. It is still a shameful episode that occasionally haunts English football. Admittedly many people now look back with regret at the naivety of kowtowing in this way to Hitler.
This weekend a collection of sportsmen and celebrities took part in a similar action, this time a sop to the totalitarian dictators who govern China. They did it by carrying the Olympic Torch, on its relay route to China, and did it on British soil.
The Chinese government have called the demonstrations against this abomination "vile". Let's just put their vocabulary down to poor translation should we? Because what is really "vile" is the way the Chinese government subjugates its people, be they Tibetans, Christians or people who are even mildly critical of the regime.
And now that sport as a whole has sold itself to the highest bidder, the President of the IOC called for a peaceful resolution in Tibet, but saved his harshest comments for the demonstrators in London who stood in support of Tibet. His comments about them were: "it is not compatible with the values" of the Olympic Games. Well what about the mass slaughter and attacks on basic freedoms and human rights carried out, on a daily basis, by the Chinese government? How do they fit in with the Olympic ideals?
70 years on we have learned absolutely nothing.

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