A Quark of A Different Spin. (adameros) wrote,
A Quark of A Different Spin.

Back to pondering China and the Olympics...

The more I think about a boycott, the more I am in favor of it. It boils down to, "What is worth more, a life's pursuit or a life?" China was and probably is killing protesters. Is someone having the chance to win an award worth more than someones life? No.

Unfortunately, the EU has different priorities...

EU Opposes Olympic Boycott

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Published: March 17, 2008

Filed at 8:39 a.m. ET

BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (AP) -- European Union nations and Olympic committees opposed a boycott of the Beijing Games over China's handling of the Tibet protests.

The EU sports ministers and Olympic committees, holding talks Monday, said sports should not be linked to such a political issue and that previous Olympic boycotts had already shown what limited impact they have.

''Under no circumstance will we support the boycott. We are 100 percent unanimous,'' Patrick Hickey, the head of the European Olympic Committees, said in an interview with the Associated Press.

''Not one government leader has called for a boycott. A boycott is only a punishment of the athletes,'' Hickey said at the meeting.

Milan Zver, the Slovenian sports minister who is chairing a meeting of top EU sports officials from the 27 member states and Olympic committees, said it was no different on the government side.

''I am against a boycott of the Olympic Games in China,'' Zver said.

His sentiments were echoed by other ministers who discussed the issue informally at a gala dinner late Sunday.

''To burden sports with this is the wrong way. It really has to be for the politicians,'' said Erica Terpstra, head of the Dutch Olympic Committee.

''There was no call for a boycott whatsoever, even though there is great concern about what happens there,'' Terpstra said. ''And I have an additional concern: Keep your hands off my athletes.''

The only note of dissent came out of France.

The head of France's second-largest political bloc, Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande, raised the possibility of a French Olympic boycott to show displeasure over the crackdown in Tibet.

''I don't say this is the solution, but I say we must use all arms and forms of international pressure,'' he said on RTL radio Monday morning, after a leftist victory in local elections on Sunday.

Claudia Bokel, head of the athlete's commission of the European Olympic Committees, said that standing aside has nothing to do with political disinterest.

''We are very concerned as athletes, but we have been working on the qualification for the games for a long time. It is our existence,'' the Olympic team fencing silver medalist said. ''We, as athletes, think we should have the time to do our sport and not get involved as a tool for politics.''

Russia also came out in support for the games, arguing the situation in Tibet must not affect Olympics.

On Monday, Tibet's governor promised leniency to anti-Chinese protesters who turned themselves in before the end of the day, as troops fanned out to quell sympathy protests that have spread to three neighboring provinces.

The fiercest protests against Chinese rule in almost two decades have embarrassed China's communist government and hurt its efforts to have a smooth run-up to the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Olympics.

Europe, however, has never questioned the right for the Chinese to stage the games.

Last Friday, a summit of EU leaders criticized China's response to demonstrations in Tibet, but did not go so far as to threaten a boycott on human rights grounds.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana even said he still intended to go to the games.

The national Olympic committees said others should stand up instead of athletes.

''Sports should not carry the burden,'' said Togay Bayatli, president of the Turkish Olympic Committee.

''Our countries are doing business there. Everybody is going there,'' Bayatli said, adding it was up to businessmen and politicians to take the initiative.

Economic relations between the 27-nation EU and China are moving closer all the time. Bilateral trade doubled between 2000-05 and reached $370 billion in 2006. Europe is China's largest export market and China is Europe's prime source of imports.

Zver has argued that political pressure through sport doesn't work, saying the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games was largely ineffectual at a political level. At the same time, it badly hurt the Olympic movement.

''Sport is tool of dialogue,'' Zver said.

Or just go straight to the article:


Now go look at the pictures from the riots and read about the treatment of the protesters and ask yourself, "Is an athletic award worth tolerating this?" Personally, I don't think it is.

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