Do not mix Politics and Olympics

Politicians said "Do not mix Politics and (Beijing) Olympics".
So,Why do politicians go to Beijing Olympics ?

Hu Jintao (China)

Sali Berisha (Albania)

Kevin Rudd (Australia)

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazil)

Stjepan Mesic (Croatia)

Matti Taneli Vanhanen (Finland)

Tarja Halonen (Finland)

Nicolas Sarkozy (France)

Gordon Brown (Great Britain)

Shimon Peres (Israel)

Franco Frattini (Italy)

Hidenao Nakagawa (Japan)

Keiji Kokuta (Japan)

Kenji Kosaka (Japan)

Seiko Hashimoto (Japan)

Shintaro Ishihara (Japan)

Toshihiro Nikai (Japan)

Tsuneo Suzuki (Japan)

Tsuyoshi Noda (Japan)

Yasuo Fukuda (Japan)

Yoshiro Mori (Japan)

Anerood Jugnauth (Mauritius)

Jan Peter Balkenende (Netherland)

Kim Yong Nam (North Korea)

Vladimir Putin (Russia)

Lee Myung-bak (South Korea)

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (Spain)

Pascal Couchepin (Switzerland)

Samak Sundaravej (Thailand)

Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko (Ukraine)

George W. Bush (USA)

Nguyen Minh Triet (Vietnam)

---Olympics are an international political soapbox---
Posted on Sun, Aug. 03, 2008

''No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.'' -- Article 51, International Olympic Committee Charter.

In theory, the Olympic Games transcend politics and should be viewed, strictly, as an international sports festival that unifies athletes under an apolitical, five-ringed flag. Yes, the athletes march in by country, national anthems are played and medal counts are tallied by nation. But the Olympics are not intended to be used as an arena for clashing political ideologies.

That is the official position of the International Olympic Committee, and a position held by many athletes and spectators alike. History suggests a different reality.

As far back as 1896, ruling classes have exploited the Olympics for political reasons. In 1906, an Irish silver-medalist long jumper who was forced to compete under Great Britain's flag climbed the flagpole during the ceremony and waved an Irish flag. Over the past 50 years, the Olympics have been overshadowed by boycotts, protests, even the politically charged murders of Israeli athletes in the athletes' village at the 1972 Games in Munich.

If the Olympics aren't political, then why did Adolf Hitler use the 1936 Games as a platform to showcase Nazi Germany? If the Olympics aren't political, then why did the United States lead a 60-nation boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? And why is one of the most vivid Olympic images that of American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising clenched, black-gloved fists, giving the Black Power salute on the medal stand during the national anthem at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City?

As China prepares to welcome the world for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the media will focus as much attention on China's human-rights record as on swimmer Michael Phelps' quest for a record eight gold medals.

From the moment Beijing was awarded the Olympics seven years ago, political activists have been using the event as a soapbox to pressure the Chinese government to improve its human-rights practices, change its policy on the occupation of Tibet, sever ties with Sudan to protest the slaughter in Darfur and relax media regulations.

Actress Mia Farrow, chair of the Dream for Darfur advisory board, dubbed the Beijing Games the ''Genocide Olympics.'' She helped pressure producer Steven Spielberg to step down as artistic advisor for the Opening Ceremonies. Many athletes have been signing on to Facebook pages for Human Rights groups -- some by name, some anonymously. The British Olympic Committee tried to keep its athletes from making political statements by asking them to sign a contract, but the plan was attacked in the media and aborted.

The most obvious example of the political tinge of these Olympics was the Torch Relay. Typically a festive trans-continent celebration of the Olympic spirit, this relay was met the world over by throngs of protesters representing a range of political issues. The flame had to be extinguished at a few stops for security reasons.


''The claim that politics and the Olympics are separate is totally phony,'' said David Wallechinksy, an Olympic historian and author of The Complete Book of the Olympics. ``You can't separate the Olympics from the world. From the very beginning, royal families used the Games to bask in glory, and that has continued.''

Wallechinsky believes that ''the No. 1 purpose of these Olympics'' for the Chinese government is to ``create a series of images it can show the Chinese people on television to prove to them that the world acknowledges them as legitimate leaders.''

John Hoberman, a sports historian at the University of Texas at Austin, agrees that it is ''silly'' to think the Olympics are apolitical.

``Never is it more political than when the IOC goes into business with an authoritarian regime, as it did in 1936, 1968, 1980, 1988 and now with China. When an authoritarian regime is, in effect, handed this prize by the IOC, the country derives a certain kind of legitimacy in the eyes of the world. Unfortunately, except in the case of South Korea in 1988, the Olympics didn't really change practices in those countries.''

Hoberman, who wrote an article on the politicization of the Olympics for the newest edition of Foreign Policy magazine, makes the point that the IOC ''got stiffed'' by the Chinese government.

''The IOC poses as an analog to the United Nations, which I think is a fraudulent claim, and it made a bet in 2001, when it gave the Games to Beijing, that it would get credit for liberalizing the Chinese regime, but they got stiffed by the Chinese,'' he said. ``The IOC is too timid and stuck in its grandiose self-image to admit it was a mistake and do something about it.''


Despite the politically charged backdrop of these Olympics, the majority of athletes plan to avoid the issues and focus on sports.

''I personally don't know enough about the issue of human rights in China,'' said U.S. soccer player Kate Markgraf. ``I Google it and look at CNN.com, but a lot of that is one person's opinion. In the past, people have used the Olympics as a platform. I respect that. But for me, I'm a mom, I play soccer and I'm not informed enough on these issues to answer questions about them.''

Other athletes are using the opportunity as a chance to educate themselves.

''In Darfur, 400,000 people have been killed, women are being raped, and so many people don't know this is happening,'' said U.S. softball player Jessica Mendoza. ``As athletes, we can be advocates for awareness because we command so many ears. When I step onto the field in Beijing, the only goal on my mind is winning gold. But in the dining hall, where 200 countries are represented, we can talk about the positive things we can do to make a difference. I think it's our duty to be aware of what's going on.''

Activists gave Australian Olympians Free Tibet pins, buttons, Tibetan flag tattoos and ''I support human rights'' T-shirts to take to Beijing. It remains to be seen whether they'll use them. German athletes were given a variety of T-shirts with slogans such as ''Sport for Human Rights,'' ''Free Tibet,'' ''Free China'' and ``Celebrate Humanity.''

Lopez Lamong, a U.S. distance runner who was one of the ''Lost Boys'' of Sudan, is a member of Team Darfur, an organization founded by speedskater Joey Cheek. He strongly believes he should use his athletic success as a catalyst for change.

''We need to send the message as athletes that we want kids in Darfur to be safe,'' he said. ``I would like to be on that podium holding the American flag and the Sudan flag.''

Jim Scherr, chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said each athlete must decide how politically involved to become.

''If athletes feel compelled to stick their necks out on an issue, great,'' he said. ``If they don't want to do that, they should be left alone. There should be no pressure to use the platform of the Olympics to speak on someone's cause.''


Many athletes over the years have used the Olympic podium for political expression.

At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Korean marathon winner Sohn Kee-chung was forced to compete under the Japanese flag because Korea was occupied by Japanese forces at the time. He had to adopt a Japanese name, which he never used in Berlin, and whenever he spoke to the media he made a point to say he was from Korea. At his medal ceremony, they raised the Japanese flag. He and bronze medalist Nam Seung-yong, who was in the same situation, bowed their heads in protest. Kee-chung later used his press conference to explain his nation's plight to the media.

The most well-known athlete protest belongs to Smith and Carlos at the 1968 Games. After finishing first and third in the 200 meters, they put on black gloves and raised clenched fists during the national anthem as a protest against racism. They were sent home.

Politics led to boycotts in 1956, 1976, 1980 and 1984.

In 1956, China withdrew to protest the IOC recognizing Taiwan and didn't return to the Olympics until 1984. Additionally, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands sat out the 1956 Melbourne Games to protest the Soviet invasion of Hungary; Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted to protest Israel's invasion of the Sinai peninsula.

In 1976, dozens of African nations withdrew because New Zealand was allowed to compete even though its rugby team had competed in apartheid South Africa. In 1980, the United States led a boycott to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and four years later the Soviets boycotted the Los Angeles Games in retaliation.

The bloodiest clash between politics and the Olympics was at the 1972 Munich games. Members of the guerrilla group Black September, demanding the release of Israeli-held Palestinian hostages, infiltrated the athletes' village, killed two Israeli athletes and took another nine hostage. They were all eventually killed in a gunfight at the airport.


''The Olympics have been very politicized from their inception, and there is no reason to think that will change,'' Wallechinsky said.

The Beijing Games have already proven to be a magnet for political debate and activism.

Xu Guoqu, a history and East Asian affairs professor at Kalamazoo College, points out that 80 world leaders will attend the Olympics, ``and that provides the legitimacy and respect that China craves. Hosting the Olympics has nothing to do with a love of the Olympics. It's political. Sport and politics in China is deeply intertwined.''

Critics say any hope that the Beijing Olympics would spark change in Chinese human-rights abuses has dimmed with the Opening Ceremonies days away.

''The 1988 Seoul Games were a genuine catalyst for change, from a military dictatorship to democracy,'' said Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch. ``In 2001, human rights was a specific addition to [the Chinese] bid, and there was good reason to hope with these pledges [the Chinese] would implement change, and there was hope the IOC would push for it.

``Neither has happened. The IOC hasn't found its voice on this issue. No one at the IOC is set up to deal with human-rights issues.''

And, the IOC would argue, it shouldn't have to. Olympics and politics don't mix, right?

Miami Herald sports writer Linda Robertson contributed to this report.

---Chinese president says politics and Olympics don’t mix---
By Nathan Wade | Friday, August 1, 2008, 10:06 AM

In a rare media interview, Chines president Hu Jintao this morning stressed competition and international friendship, not politics, as the defining issues for this summer’s Olympic Games, which start next week in Beijing.

Hu did not address limits in Internet access and human rights issues, the two main topics that have detracted from Olympic coverage, but he did stress that reporters should obey the laws of the land and report objectively and fairly during their stay in China.

Questions had to be submitted by invited media prior to the press conference. When a German reporter tried to ask a human rights question at the end of the session, Hu ignored him.

---The Games Begin---
Thu. Jul 24, 2008

When the Olympic torch is formally lit August 8 in the Bird’s Nest, China’s odd-looking new Olympic stadium, and the sky above Beijing explodes with what officials promise will be a “spectacular” fireworks display (in the very “birthplace of gunpowder,” as a government press release artlessly points out), a few key figures will be conspicuously absent. Truants will include the presidents of Poland and the Czech Republic and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. They plan to boycott the opening ceremony to protest China’s poor human rights record and its ongoing occupation of Tibet.

At least, they hope their absence will be conspicuous. But with whole brigades of other world leaders planning to attend the ceremony, beginning with George Bush, Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Sarkozy, protesters are beginning to fret that their protests will fall flat. In Canada, a furious debate is raging over the planned absence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and whether it will even be noticed - that is, assuming he is actually boycotting rather than simply detained by other commitments. His office won’t say one way or the other.

Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja will be there, but they won’t be joined by their culture and sport minister, Trond Giske, who strongly favored a boycott. Instead he’ll be attending the closing ceremony. That ought to teach them.

Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, had been planning to skip the ceremony, but not because of child labor, Tibet’s agony or China’s appalling role in Darfur. Peres intended to stay home because the accommodations were too far from the stadium and he didn’t want to ride on the Sabbath. Instead, China found him a hotel on stadium grounds in the Olympic village, allowing Peres to uphold the Israeli political tradition of pretending to be Sabbath-observant when traveling abroad. Now he’s good to go.

If all this sounds silly, that’s because it is. The political gamesmanship surrounding the games this year is making fools of just about everyone involved. It’s not that the event has become politicized, as critics on both sides argue, but rather that this year’s politicization has been executed so clumsily. China, by turning the games into a demonstration of national pride and progress, unintentionally gave its critics an invitation to spotlight its flaws. The protesters, by failing to make good on their threats, merely showcased their impotence. No one came out looking good.

The fact is that injecting politics into the Olympics is nothing new. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine how a competitive gathering of 100-plus national delegations, each marching under its national flag, could somehow be devoid of politics. Nor are this year’s Olympics in Beijing the most heavily politicized in the games’ modern history, as most pundits insist. That trophy would have to go either to Berlin 1936, arguably the most naked exercise in propaganda in the past century, or to Moscow 1980, which suffered a real-live boycott when the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan prompted nearly 60 nations to stay home entirely, including the United States, Japan, Norway and - ironically - China.

Nearly lost in the uproar is the real point of the Olympics, which is to bring athletes together to compete and put on a good show. However much the Chinese and their detractors try to divert attention away from the games to their game-playing, billions of people will be watching the events over the next few weeks. And they will be watching not for politics or social uplift, but for the thrill and beauty of seeing the best of the best face off. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Looking for opportunities to improve the lot of the world’s downtrodden is a very, very important pursuit. This newspaper takes a back seat to no one on that score. But you won’t win the sympathy of the world’s citizens by spoiling their sports.

A century ago, movements arose among the Jews of Europe to reclaim Jewish destiny by teaching Jews to reclaim themselves, physically as well as spiritually. Polish yeshiva students reinvented themselves as Israeli farmers. Jewish soccer leagues were created in Vienna and Budapest, and Jewish basketball teams at community centers in Cleveland and Philadelphia helped spawn the National Basketball Association. Jewish scouting and Zionist pioneering clubs in Nazi-occupied Warsaw taught themselves to shoot and staged an uprising. A spirit of Jewish self-reliance was reborn, and it gave Jews the strength to carry on after the horrors of the Holocaust. Today, with new generations of Jews returning in droves to their pallid desks and study halls, that spirit is needed more than ever.

In next week’s issue, the Forward will take a look at Jewish athletes who will be coming from around the world to compete in the Beijing Olympics. We do this in each Olympic year and every baseball season, partly because we’re proud of them, and more importantly because they are - no less than scholars, artists or philanthropists - a part of the contemporary Jewish experience. We do not do this, as our critics often suggest, in some hope that it will make non-Jews respect Jews, but so that Jews will respect themselves.

Let the games begin.

2008.7.16 20:08


---森元首相ら8人、北京五輪開会式出席へ 河野議長は見送り---
2008年7月12日8時0分配信 産経新聞


---首相、五輪開会式に出席 「政治絡める必要ない」---


---FACTBOX-World leaders to attend Olympics opening in Beijing---
Reuters - Wednesday, July 9 04:12 am

(Reuters) - French President Nicholas Sarkozy will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, representing his country and the European Union, his office said on Wednesday.

The announcement ends weeks of speculation sparked by Sarkozy's comments that his attendance depended on progress in talks between China's government and representatives of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Foreign leaders' attendance at the August 8-24 Beijing Games has become a closely-watched issue, as rights groups have urged leaders to boycott them to protest China's crackdown on May riots in Tibet and its ties with the government in Sudan.

Here is a preliminary list of world leaders who have said they will attend the opening ceremonies:

AUSTRALIA - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
CAMBODIA - King Norodom Sihamoni.
CROATIA - President Stjepan Mesic.
FINLAND - Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.
FRANCE - President Nicolas Sarkozy.
JAPAN - Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
MAURITIUS - President Sir Anerood Jugnauth.
MALAYSIA - King Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, and Queen Tuanku Nur Zahirah.
NETHERLANDS - Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.
SOUTH KOREA - President Lee Myung-bak.
SWITZERLAND - President Pascal Couchepin.
THAILAND - Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, and Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
UNITED STATES - President George W. Bush.
VIETNAM - President Nguyen Minh Triet.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou. Thomas Tsai, president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, will attend.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will only attend closing ceremony.
(Compiled by David Cutler and Gillian Murdoch)


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