Brit Olympic athletes forced to sign gag-agreements on China criticism

Discuss

24 Responses to “Brit Olympic athletes forced to sign gag-agreements on China criticism”

  1. Hayden says:

    A similar thing happened here in New Zealand: Public outcry at the Olympic Committee’s gagging clause; subsequent back-down by the committee, and a softening of the clause. They initially tried to defend the clause by claiming it was in line with international Olympic policy. That didn’t stand up very well.

  2. Kid says:

    Here is my very biased take:

    The British government is the most advanced separatists in the world. In more eloquent words, the b****.

    As much as I’m concerned about the Tibet issue, I don’t think the Brits’ words have any authority, because they put a foot there a century ago and killed lots of Tibetans as well. Tibet would have been a British colony if not because China defended the British army from Tibet! Meanwhile, the number of Tibetans dead under Communist rule is estimated, and we would never know if the number is exaggerated or understated.

    From Kosovo vs Serbia to Pakistan vs India, from Singapore vs Malaysia to even USA vs Canada, (and numerous fragments in Africa) the British government down to its citizens are still subconsciously trying to live its old colonialism glory days, by stretching its political arms across the globe. It’s almost as if there is a deep-rooted psychological revenge that they want the rest of the world to be as fragmented as itself, even since their pirate ancestors had fallen from being the biggest empire.

    This cannot be stopped, but it is surely annoying as hell.

    * * * * *

    Back to Chinese olympics, I’m glad that there are still people vocal about the deadly deeds of the Chinese government. However, as far as I know, the government has always turned a blind eye to foreign voices, since certain film directors’ concern with Africa would have little to do with how many iPhones they can manufacture in Shenzhen. And since nationalism (more like capitalism) is at all time high in the country, such concerns with historical issues would hardly be heard, and they would think that these foreigners are just crazy, like what I just said. :)

  3. MBirdsong says:

    I would call for a boycott of the Olympics whenever it is being held in either a Communist, Socialist, or Dictatorship Regime.

    There is no need for American Tax-Payer money to go to support such Governments. It is bad enough that they have tried to poison our children with they lead filled toys.

  4. Village Idiot says:

    People still watch the Olympics? Or attend? Or care?

    I’m not sure how many past Olympic Games this applies to, but what percentage of the total amount of gear, marketing paraphernalia, and snazzy matching warmup outfits was manufactured with sweatshop labor? It appears to be quite a large percentage, and likely growing. Many of those workers are children, and this is not unique to China of course but they are certainly a huge part of the problem. But never mind all that; here’s a shiny piece of metal, you fast runner you!

    It’d be great if the team signed whatever BS gag order was presented, then upon arrival denounced the human rights violations to the massive, global audience anyway. Even better would be if they tossed any medals they happen to win to the ground during the silly ceremony and say what’s on their mind right there on the podium. Ah, who am I kidding? Wheaties endorsement deals tend to trump principles.

    To Hell with the Olympics.

  5. Will says:

    Actually, I’m all for a Chinese Olympics. If the Chinese DIDN’T get the Olympics, they would never have a chance to be repeatedly embarrassed over the abuse they dish out to their own people, and their “minorities”- the Tibetans, the Uigyrs, the Mongolians et al.

    Engagement works if you give ‘em a little, and punish ‘em a little. There’s no way the Chinese are going to up and say, “You’re right- everyone out of Lhasa! We’re shipping the DL right back!”

    But if you promise them the world, and then bug them repeatedly about stuff, you have a chance at more positively affecting policy. Especially in a nation like China, whose politics rush from crisis to crisis with stagnation in between, having the Olympics creates circumstances where change is possible. Now, are democratic governments and bigwigs like Lucas doing it effectively? Maybe, I don’t think so. But if this is China’s “coming out party”, then it’s a good opportunity to send signals and press for reform.

  6. ill lich says:

    I wonder if they can get away with sarcasm? For example, if asked about China’s human rights abuses they can instead go completely over-the-top in describing what a wonderful utopian society China is: a true paradise on earth, where the streets are paved with gold-painted lead, and the common people make millions farming ants at home.

  7. ill lich says:

    Wait a second! . . . Prince Charles is boycotting the Olympics?

    What even was he competing in?

  8. ad legem says:

    I’m pretty sure that Australian athletes are in a similar position – either with similar agreements, or just gagged by the AOC on behalf of China.

  9. Bonnie says:

    So explain to me again why the Olympic committee agreed to have the Olympics in Beijing again? Is the next one going to be in Darfur?

    Seems to me the Olympics should be held in a place where ALL people are welcome, not just ones willing to look the other way when it comes to China’s lack of human rights.

  10. Beanolini says:

    The BOA have since agreed to re-draft the offending clause in the athletes’ contracts.

    Please don’t take the Daily Mail seriously.

  11. HarshLanguage says:

    OK, so that 1936 Olympics picture in the post is a hell of a zinger (“you know who ELSE the British didn’t allow criticism of”). And suppressing free speech is bad. But the pic is way over the top, isn’t it? Using it to equate the Chinese govt and the Nazis, and the British govt’s approach to each, is too much.

    Picture aside, I’m very glad to hear from the first commenter that the contract will be changed. There’s too much politics in sports as it is.

  12. Peterus says:

    Britain is on the spearhead of Polictically Correct Castration. They cave at most cultural brawls with muslim minority in their country, naturally they caved to post-communist China.

    All cultures are equal?

  13. Dan O'Huiginn says:

    That picture isn’t from the 1936 olympics, despite the mail’s confused caption (“1938 olympics”!). It’s from a 1938 England-Germany soccer game.

    I hate to link to the daily mail on this (especially given the paper’s support for the Nazis), but one of their other articles correctly labels it. You can see another shot of the same salute, and more detail, in a bbc article

    And yes, please don’t take the mail seriously. I’m glad they’re getting angry about this issue, but there are much less hideous papers printing similar articles – quite probably with less mistakes. Try the Guardian or the Telegraph , for example

  14. zuzu says:

    The very nature and purpose of hosting the Olympic games is to “redevelop” a city and remove “undesirable elements” for select corporate interests wielding the “expediency” of government authority. It provides a city with no long-term economic benefit; it’s as bogus as an “economic stimulus package”. In a word: corporatism.

    The Olympic (Affordable) Housing Legacy and Social Responsibility

    Using it to equate the Chinese govt and the Nazis, and the British govt’s approach to each, is too much.

    Yes, clearly, comparing Hitler to Stalin invokes Godwin’s Law and becomes a ridiculous juxtaposition. ::sarcasm::

  15. babasikander says:

    The 1936 Games took place in Berlin.
    Munich was 1972, when Hitler had already been dead for 27 years…

  16. Elysianartist says:

    Is it just me or is BoingBoing on fire today? Seems like this site is updating at a more rapid pace than usual…everytime I refresh the browser, it;s like bam bam bam…new post!! me likey.

  17. zuzu says:

    The 1936 Games took place in Berlin.
    Munich was 1972, when Hitler had already been dead for 27 years…

    D-Day: War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.

    Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

    Otter: Germans?

    Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.

  18. Waltb555 says:

    I, for one, will never understand the decision to allow China to host the Olympic Games in the first place. I would love to see the entire world boycott the games. Anyone who profits in anyway from this travesty is capitalizing on the suffering of millions.

  19. eiconoclast says:

    The gag order is stupid, but I don’t have a problem with China hosting the Olympics. I firmly believe that we should engage China more and more. They are showing signs of making economic reforms (still have a long way to go) and are probably wise not to start political reforms right away. Too much change can create problems (see Russia).

    China is growing and developing and will be a major player on the world stage. We would be smart to be engaged with China and have some influence rather than opposed to China and without any influence.

  20. zuzu says:

    I, for one, will never understand the decision to allow China to host the Olympic Games in the first place.

    Who do you think the Olympic Games Committee is, exactly? Let’s not fool ourselves about the purpose of the modern Olympics.

    I would love to see the entire world boycott the games.

    Perhaps the problems at hand are better communicated when, say, the athletes themselves self-select to “boycott” the games arguing a tangible health hazard from smog. Quantity of boycotters is not the most important criteria for popularizing a counter-narrative.

    Anyone who profits in anyway from this travesty is capitalizing on the suffering of millions.

    Could you map the deductive consequences you used to navigate from premise to conclusion in this statement?

  21. Waltb555 says:

    Zuzu,

    I agree that the decision should be left up to the athletes as to whether they compete or not. I always disagreed with Carter’s decision to boycott the Olympics. I know that the Olympic Games are supposed to be free of political issues but allowing China this opportunity seems extreme.

    As to my last statement I refer to the illegal and violent occupation of Tibet and the support of the Sudanese regime responsible for the genocide in Darfur. Steven Spielberg withdrew from the planning of the opening ceremonies for this reason and I agree with him.

  22. zuzu says:

    As to my last statement I refer to the illegal and violent occupation of Tibet and the support of the Sudanese regime responsible for the genocide in Darfur. Steven Spielberg withdrew from the planning of the opening ceremonies for this reason and I agree with him.

    Yes, but conversely the tangential / slippery slope argument can become absurd. Does buying a handgun mean you’re supporting all of the deaths ever enabled by the invention of the gun?

    So, I’m suggesting that perhaps such convictions require mapping a deductive consequence from how the Olympic Games in Beijing cause anything to do with Tibet or Darfur. Just because they all involve “China” in some way is rather unconvincing.

  23. Waltb555 says:

    Zuzu,

    The occupation and subjugation of the Tibetan people does not involve China in “some way”. It is an ongoing policy of the Chinese government and they are entirely responsible for it. I feel that allowing the Chinese to host the Olympic Games gives tacit approval to this policy as well as China’s ongoing diplomatic and financial support of the Sudanese government.

  24. Antinous says:

    …it was holiday on Giedi Prime…and effort had been spent in the family city of Harko to create the illusion of gaiety: banners flew from buildings, new paint had been splashed on the walls along Court Way. But off the main way…the scabrous brown walls reflected in the dark puddles of the streets, and the furtive scurrying of the people.

    Frank Herbert, future Olympic commentator

Leave a Reply