British Athletes Forced to Sign Agreement Not to Discuss China’s Abuses at Olympics

The British Olympic Association wants to make sure that its athletes do not confuse pollute the games with discussions of basic freedoms while in Beijing for the Olympic Games. Athletes must sign a contract promising not to criticize China for the denial of human rights.

Graham Nathan, spokesman for the British Olympics Association (BOA), told CNN that “British athletes will have to sign a contract promising not to comment on any politically sensitive issues.” Perish the thought that athletes would notice the dissidents being carted away when there are important games to play.

Notably, the contract guarantees that there is really no difference between athletes beyond the flag that they are carrying. Presumably, a nation prides itself not just on its athletes but their success in a free nation. As East Germany and Romania showed, it is easy to produce top athletes if you treat them and your citizens as cattle. Our athletes represent our country and its values. China was a controversial choice because of its denial of basic freedoms to its people. Since it insisted on the games, it will have to deal with the presence of free thought and free speech — at least among foreign athletes. It is bizarre that free nation are expected to yield to a repressive system by ignoring the realities around them.

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One thought on “British Athletes Forced to Sign Agreement Not to Discuss China’s Abuses at Olympics”

  1. This is an interesting dilemma for both Olympians and activists, but not without potential solutions. The contract doesn’t prevent discussion of human rights observations after the games. It doesn’t abridge anyones civil rights – since they have none other than those of an invited guest.

    Regardless of the motives – the contract is an agreement to act as respectful guests but it doesn’t ask them to ignore their observations. Nothing would prevent them from detailing and reporting their experiences in a mass media extravaganza, or, in the most thoughtful and meaningful manner. After watching what the United States pulled on Russia, with Ronald Reagan delivering his best dramatic performance – “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Well while the talking heads were cheering Reagan – many of us, who had worked very diligently in creating multiple channels of commercial and international cooperation as a result of Glasnost and then Perestroika thought that a stupidity epidemic had befallen Washington DC. This was a con job to tip Russia into a revolution. Nicely done too. The mob took over goods and services, the US propped up the leading druggie-alcoholic crime boss as its leader (just like … never mind) and then lauded Ronald Reagan for his great wisdom.

    Wisdom ??? He didn’t have a clue as to what his handlers had in mind nor the effect. I’m not even going to hint at the effect on Germany when it inherited a vast welfare state. Sean Hannity and his peanut gallery would require CPR if they understood what a great deal of the world thought of Ronald Reagan’s pulling the rug out from underneath Gorby. The threat of Russia getting stronger in world markets and being an influence through capitalism was too much to handle so …

    Frankly, after traveling the world for a great deal of my adult life – the last thing that I would want to see is uninformed individuals reacting to political and human rights issues without the benefit of knowledge or considerable thought on the matter. We should leave that to the corporate media.

    China already saw this movie. There are many human rights reforms taking place across Southern China right now. It will take time. We (the USA)don’t even have the human rights stuff perfected very well – but heck … let’s impose our will. Sorry – I don’t buy it. I also know very well that we undermine the actual human rights activists when we permit reckless and feckless intervention.

    Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn co-authored a well researched and finely writen book on the subject – particularly to those of us who live with feet in other worlds.

    There are deplorable conditions in China, there is archaic local rule by war-lords and civic minded mobsters. It won’t change over night. Certainly though, I’m not sure that Nations that have invaded a Sovereign Iraq, presided over the deaths of 100’s of thousands of people and the created millions of refugees, imprisoned – without even regard to the due process of the Magna Carta – protect lawless mercenaries and still have regions with laws that prohibit the inter-marrying of Black and White … should be the one’s to bring ‘freedom’ to China.

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