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Who politicised the Olympics?

26/08/2008

 

Following a controversy over internet access for journalists during the Olympics, China’s leader, Hu Jing-tao, urged people not to politicise the Olympics. He said ‘politicising the event undermined the Olympic movement and called for dialogue to resolve contentious issues… Hosting the Games showed China’s desire for peaceful global ties’.[1] Well, one may wonder who is the one politicising the Olympics.

 

China obviously uses the Olympics to show their success, which is fair enough. However, the Chinese government suppresses human rights and those who pose any challenge to them even harder in the name of the Olympics. Because there hasn’t been great improvement in human rights, the government imposes greater ‘control’ so that people with different views would not embarrass them. To build the facilities for the Games, a lot of people have been forced to move, closed their business or shorten their business hours.[2] When some western officials emphasised China’s ‘helpfulness’ in telling North Korea to talk about disarming, Myanmar to let some UN envoy in and Sudan to back away from their genocide policy, China still vetoed UN sanctions against Zimbabwe and wants a UN vote to stop action in the International Criminal Court against the Sudanese president.[3]

 

From a Taiwanese point of view, China has been using this Olympics to make Taiwan look like part of its territory. This was worsened by the willingness of Ma’s government to compromise Taiwan’s sovereignty. At first, Ma’s government agreed to ‘Chinese Taipei’ and saw that as a diplomatic ‘victory’[4], to which the Chinese response was to try on ‘China, Taipei’. (If this can be seen as a victory, I really don’t know how to define the word ‘defeat’.) Although they retracted that, their official press, CCTV, carried on using it. Ma’s government was only ‘shocked’ but did not protest and quickly found an excuse for China before China even responded – a ‘technical’ error.[5]

 

Furthermore, Taiwan was made to march under ‘C’, right after Central African Republic and right before China Hong Kong and China Macau in the opening. This is in violation of the official IOC protocol that has been used for 30 odd years. Again, Ma’s government accepted it without any quibble and said that IOC made it clear that this was one-off. Some Taiwanese are uncomfortable with Chinese Taipei as it is and of course are opposed to this ‘one-off’ arrangement because once the rule is broken, you don’t know what’s going to happen next time. Also, China certainly wants to give the impression that Taiwan is part of it and Ma’s government just handed it to them. Therefore, Chi Cheng and the DPP spoke out strongly against it.[6]

 

Furthermore, Chinese official, Jia Ching-lin and Leader Hu Jing-tao said that Taiwanese athletes would have a ‘home field advantage’ in Beijing. It was really inexcusable that the KMT chair, Wu, agreed and repeated it, helping China take advantage of Taiwan. The DPP chairwoman, Tsai Ing-wen as well as many others, expressed strong disapproval and a lot of Taiwanese disagree that China was ‘home’.[7][8][9][10][11]

 

So, who politicised the Olympics?

 



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