Monday, April 30, 2007

Beijing Olympics 2008

These two articles (here and here) raise a lot of concern about the Olympics next year in Beijing. In order to complete the building works in time, labourers are being paid as little as £3.27 a day for 12 hour shifts, often in incredibly dangerous conditions without adequate safety equipment. And then, the Chinese authorities are using the Olympic Games as an excuse to "suppress dissent", and are arresting petty criminals and other undesirables without charge in Beijing in order to clean up the city in time for the Olympics. The Chinese authorities promised as part of their bid to clean up China's human rights records, which they have failed to do.

And what makes it worse is that the IOC says that it is a sporting organisation, not a political one, and so won't do anything about it. But with the quickest glance to the Olympic Charter, especially the section 'Fundamental Principals of Olympism', it is clear that political considerations are an integral part of the Olympic games. For example:

"Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles ... with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned
with the preservation of human dignity."

I'm not sure abusing human rights and forcing people to work below the minimum wage of Beijing in order to make a good impression when the opening ceremony arrives is compatible with the values of 'Olympism'.

1 comment:

  1. I think its awful too. You know I just had a great idea, that we should write an e-magazine