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The Rover

Iy's not the NAZI Salute . . . But it's Something . . .

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Britain kow tows to China as athletes are forced to sign no criticism contracts

The Daily Mail Article

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China's appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.

The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes' contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.

It is contained in a 32-page document that will be presented to all those who reach the qualifying standard and are chosen for the team.

From the moment they sign up, the competitors – likely to include the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips and world record holder Paula Radcliffe – will be effectively gagged from commenting on China's politics, human rights abuses or illegal occupation of Tibet.

Prince Charles has already let it be known that he will not be going to China, even if he is invited by Games organisers.

His views on the Communist dictatorship are well known, after this newspaper revealed how he described China's leaders as “appalling old waxworks” in a journal written after he attended the handover of Hong Kong. The Prince is also a long-time supporter of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader.

Yesterday the British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed to The Mail on Sunday that any athlete who refuses to sign the agreements will not be allowed to travel to Beijing.

Should a competitor agree to the clause but then speak their mind about China, they will be put on the next plane home.

The clause, in section 4 of the contract, simply states: “[Athletes] are not to comment on any politically sensitive issues.”

It then refers competitors to Section 51 of the International Olympic Committee charter, which “provides for no kind of demonstration, or political, religious or racial propaganda in the Olympic sites, venues or other areas”.

Contention: the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips stands to be among the athletes who will be forced to sign the gagging order

The BOA took the decision even though other countries – including the United States, Canada, Finland, and Australia – have pledged that their athletes would be free to speak about any issue concerning China.

To date, only New Zealand and Belgium have banned their athletes from giving political opinions while competing at the Games.

Simon Clegg, the BOA's chief executive, said: “There are all sorts of organisations who would like athletes to use the Olympic Games as a vehicle to publicise their causes.

“I don't believe that is in the interest of the team performance.

“As a team we are ambassadors of the country and we have to conform to an appropriate code of conduct.”

However, human rights campaigner Lord David Alton condemned the move as “making a mockery” of the right to free speech.

The controversial decision to award the Olympics to Beijing means this year's Games have the potential to be the most politically charged since 1936.

Adolf Hitler used the Munich Games that year to glorify his Nazi regime, although his claims of Aryan superiority were undermined by black American athlete Jesse Owens winning four gold medals.

More recently, there was a mass boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

But Colin Moynihan – now BOA chairman Lord Moynihan – defied Margaret Thatcher's calls for British athletes to stay at home and won a silver medal as cox of the men's eight rowing team.

Former Olympic rowing champion Matthew Pinsent has already criticised the Chinese authorities over the training methods used on children, which he regarded as tantamount to abuse.

Young gymnasts told him they were repeatedly beaten during training sessions.

Mr Clegg confirmed that such criticisms would be banned under the team's code of conduct, which will be in force from when athletes are selected in July, until the end of the Games on August 24.

Mr Clegg said: “During the period of the contract, that sort of action would be in dispute with the team-member agreement.

“There are all sorts of sanctions that I can apply. I had to send a team member home in Sydney because they breached our sponsorship agreement and that is the first time it happened.

“I have to act in the interest of the whole British team, not one individual. No athlete is above being part of the team.

“There is a requirement on team members to sign the agreement. If athletes step out of line, action will have to be taken.”

Darren Campbell, Olympic relay gold winner at the 2004 Games in Athens, said the BOA's move would “heap extra pressure on athletes”. But he added: “We are there to represent our country in sporting terms, just as our Army do when they go off to war. It is not supposed to be about politics.”

The BOA is taking a far more stringent stance than authorities in other countries. Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said: “What we will be saying to the athletes is that it's best to concentrate on your competitions.

“But they're entitled to have their opinions and express them. They're free to speak.”

Jouko Purontakanen, secretary general of the Finnish Olympic Committee, said: “We will not be issuing instructions on the matter. The freedom of expression is a basic right that cannot be limited.

“But the starting point is that we will go to Beijing to compete, not to talk politics.”

Political gestures have been made at previous Olympics, most famously in Mexico City in 1968 when black American 200m champion Tommie Smith and bronze medallist John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute.

Both were suspended from the US Olympic team and barred from the Olympic village.

Forty years on, British athletes face similar sanctions if they highlight the abuse of human rights in China.

Last night Edward McMillan-Scott, Conservative MEP and the European Parliament vice-president, predicted a public outcry over the BOA's move.

He said: “Foreign Secretary David Miliband is off to China soon. But before he gets on the plane, he and the rest of the Government should tell the BOA to take this clause out of the agreement.”

Potentially the contract means that a British athlete who witnesses someone being mistreated on the way to a stadium is forbidden from even speaking to their colleagues about it.

Competitors emailing home or writing blogs will also have to exercise self-censorship – or face having their Olympic dreams ruined.

Lord Alton said: “It is extraordinary to bar athletes from expressing an opinion about China's human-rights record. About the only justification for participating in the Beijing Games is that it offers an opportunity to encourage more awareness about human rights.

“Imposing compulsory vows of silence is an affront to our athletes, and in China it will be viewed as acquiescence.

“Each year 8,000 executions take place in China, political and religious opinion is repressed, journalists are jailed and the internet and overseas broadcasts are heavily censored.

“For our athletes to be told that they may not make any comment makes a mockery of our own country's belief in free speech.”

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The Olympics are politics masquerading as games. The athletes should refuse to sign this

but they won't because they hope to earn medals and endorsements.

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I've always maintained that handing the games to Beijing was a giant cop-out...great job by the IOC. Additionally, the U.S. needs to stop helping bankroll their "special" kind of communism. It's sickening.

If the British athletes go by this, then that's quite a bit of credibility lost. Then again, perhaps it was all lost in 1984 (not by the athletes).

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Absolutely disgraceful! One more notch DOWN the totem pole of integrity.

The Tyrants that run China need to be told, in no uncertain terms, to go fuck themselves.

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Well, Truman had his chance but instead decided to get rid of the man with the idea.

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I will be boycotting the Red Chinese Olympic games in the only way I can. I will not be watching them on TV and I will be writing a letter to NBC Sports and as many of the commercial sponsors as I can just to let them know that I will also be boycotting their products.

The best way we can show China that we disagree with their human rights record, their treatment of Tibet and their rampant spying and copywrite violations, is to embarrass them with their Olympics.

And bravo to Prince Charles for taking a stand to not attend!

beijing_2008.gif

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Ridiculous. I hope athletes speak out while they're there and if any Chinese athlete wins a gold medal, I hope other medalists turn their backs while on the podium as the anthem plays. Show the world watching that they DON'T support the atrocities the Chinese government commits.

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I will be boycotting the Red Chinese Olympic games in the only way I can. I will not be watching them on TV and I will be writing a letter to NBC Sports and as many of the commercial sponsors as I can just to let them know that I will also be boycotting their products.

The best way we can show China that we disagree with their human rights record, their treatment of Tibet and their rampant spying and copywrite violations, is to embarrass them with their Olympics.

And bravo to Prince Charles for taking a stand to not attend!

beijing_2008.gif

This is the answer - vote with your feet, and your wallets. I won't be watching a single minute of it, regardless of who is collecting the medals or not.

Also, I will buy NONE of the sponsors products :thumbdown:

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Tiaenamen Square 2.0 coming soon? There are many things over there that have the potential to ignite something. Could it even come during the Games?

Even if I wanted to watch the Games, I'll be too busy studying.

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Well, Truman had his chance but instead decided to get rid of the man with the idea.

Yes, he cut and ran. And Lest we forget.... the Korean Conflict was a United Nations action. And Boy ! Wasn't that Special ! !

And so... the end of world peace. :D

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Ridiculous. I hope athletes speak out while they're there and if any Chinese athlete wins a gold medal, I hope other medalists turn their backs while on the podium as the anthem plays. Show the world watching that they DON'T support the atrocities the Chinese government commits.

Remember the black US athletes that gave the Black Power salute on the podium in the 1968 Mexico City Games ? ? ?

If the Chinese athletes did the equivlilent on the the podium in 2008......

The would be terminated.

That's you real China....

Edited by The Rover

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That's bloody politics for ya!!!!

i concur...i'm still annoyed that bush administration has yet to do sanctions against china for all the recalls for products made...how many people and pets have sick for them to take notice...so much for free trade

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Bow to Mao!!

We should give all their lead back (at 3000 feet per second) :computertrash:

:lol:

(I was at first reading that as "leed" got confused as to what you were talking about, Red. Damn unnecessary 'a').

I won't limit purchases to the Olympic stuff. My personal boycott (where-ever possible) of Communist Chinese crap is an every-day thing.

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:beer: Steven Spielberg has resigned as artistic adviser to the games , good for him :thumbsup:

But he had no problem going down to Cuba and playing grab as with that fucking Castro.

Spielberg is a hypocritical peice of shit.

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But he had no problem going down to Cuba and playing grab as with that fucking Castro.

Spielberg is a hypocritical peice of shit.

Hell of a director though

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:lol:

(I was at first reading that as "leed" got confused as to what you were talking about, Red. Damn unnecessary 'a').

I won't limit purchases to the Olympic stuff. My personal boycott (where-ever possible) of Communist Chinese crap is an every-day thing.

(Lead)--Yes, a .30 caliber 165 grain boattail hollowpoint will do just fine. :D

And speak of the devil.....my 'SONY' universal remote just crapped out on me last night.

Made in China of course. :angry:

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(Lead)--Yes, a .30 caliber 165 grain boattail hollowpoint will do just fine. :D

And speak of the devil.....my 'SONY' universal remote just crapped out on me last night.

Made in China of course. :angry:

Man...wy cant we all just boycott these communist shitter's? They are mega dangerous and they have the world addicted to their cheap crap that is made by no-paid workers...unless you consider a bowl of maggot encrusted rice "pay"...I really believe the civilized world should boycott the olympics...they are the ultimate incarnation of "big brother"....

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While I take a dim view of many of China's policeys I have to say the attitude towards the chinese seems to be becoming openly racist in recent years and based off a general lack of knowledge.

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Man...wy cant we all just boycott these communist shitter's? They are mega dangerous and they have the world addicted to their cheap crap that is made by no-paid workers...unless you consider a bowl of maggot encrusted rice "pay"...I really believe the civilized world should boycott the olympics...they are the ultimate incarnation of "big brother"....

Their economy is fastly on the rise, challenging those of the US, Japan, and Germany...you honestly think no-paid workers are doing that?

While it's true that in the communist sectors of China, workers get little and thus can spend very little, the capitalistic zones of China will be soaring through the roof in upcoming years.

Edited by wanna be drummer

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