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The rape of the Olympic spirit

By Arthur Thomas - posted Friday, 8 August 2008

President Hu Jintao's claim of "One World, One Dream" is turning into the Beijing 2008 Olympics Shame Games.

Despite round the clock crisis talks and China's claimed lifting of China's Great Firewall for all foreign media; we are yet to see just how far this extends beyond the Games facilities. China and the IOC are now in damage control mode, carefully prepared statements claiming "misunderstandings" and corroborating each others comments.

What has not been addressed however is just how far the Great Firewall, Chinese security and the over jealous local police will impact on foreign media's movements, operations and communications using satellite, the internet, and smart phones. How far away from the Olympic venues are the media allowed to stray to report on China and its citizens.


For the rest of China's netizens, the China's Great Firewall and monitoring will remain firmly in place.

With the IOC directing focus on the Great Firewall, the removal of spyware - installed in hotels to monitor phone and internet traffic by staff, guests and visitors alike - has been conveniently overlooked. Installation of this spyware was made compulsory by China's paranoid government. The "lifting" statement inferred that the internet will be "freely available" for the media, but access to an open internet by foreign visitors is vague and may possibly only apply to select major 5 star hotels in Beijing and possibly Shanghai.

Let us return to the beginning of this charade.

Following completion of negotiations for the 2008 Beijing Games, the IOC proudly released a 273-page guide to coverage for the foreign press with the introduction:

The Chinese government will honour its commitments in the bid process ... to provide quality and convenient services to the media in accordance with international practice and the successful experience from previous games, so as to satisfy the demands of the media covering the Olympic Games in China.

Now the IOC's reprehensible admission of two years of deceit and misleading statements appears to suggest a deliberate conspiracy to disregard agreed conditions key to the granting of the 2008 Olympics to China.


Such an admission can only be considered as a sign of the IOC's willingness to deliberately desecrate the true spirit of the Olympics in order to cover up ineptitude in negotiating the agreement and a lack of intestinal fortitude to enforce conditions formally agreed to between China and the IOC.

If that is not the case, then the IOC appears to have deliberately signed off on an unenforceable agreement knowing the outcome and participated in a two-year campaign of deceit.

If it is the case, then the IOC can now proudly claim direct responsibility for the increasing level of abuse of human rights heaped on millions of China's citizens, especially the poor and disadvantaged, in the name of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in order to achieve mianji (face) for the Chinese Government.

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About the Author

Arthur Thomas is retired. He has extensive experience in the old Soviet, the new Russia, China, Central Asia and South East Asia.

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