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IOC chief speaks out over Tibet

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, has expressed concern over recent unrest in Tibet.

Speaking at an IOC meeting in Beijing, Mr Rogge said the IOC "called for a rapid, peaceful resolution of Tibet". He also condemned attempts to disrupt the Olympic torch relay saying violence "is not compatible with the values of the torch relay or the Olympic Games".

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Following commentary was published in the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung today - the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" informs about teh Olympic Games normally in a very factually way:

Olympic Fight (in the orginal German article: "Olympischer Krampf" (Olympic Cramp) which is a pun on "Olympischer Kampf" (Olympic Fight), which doesn't work in english)

The chinese proganda nearly succeeded to convince the world with the might of images that the Tibet riots were made by violent harassers, who hided themselves behind engrossed monks.

Now there are new pics - not from China, where the insurrection apperantely seems to go on (of course without images), but from countries, which Olympic Committees made themselves involuntary to hanger-ons of a fun society leaded by communists.

The fight about the Olympic torch in London and Paris are a perfect reflection of the cramp, which griped the Olympic Spirit. Even Jacques Rogge, from whose reservation wasn't sure, if it was mockery of Tibet or if it was Olympic naivety, can't deny anymore that sport and politics belong together, when states uses "his" Olympic Games to stage peace. The opponents of this spectacle made torch extinguishment to a new sport. It is the only sport so far, in which exists "mature athletes".

FAZ - Olympischer Krampf

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius
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am i the only one who can see how all this publicity and headline news is fantastic for the IOC. we'll look back on the Beijing Area remembering the protests and the IOC response and the atmosphere of the Games. The marketing department must be very happy. if anything the publicity contributes to the continuation of the games and interest from prospective cities for decades to come.

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People, its times like this when I absolutely hate to be so frank. Yet, its times like this when it is necessary. So, I 'm going to be very fank in the facts I shall present now.

Fact #1 :- The Beijing Olympics Shall be one of the most glittering Olympiads in the history of the olympic games.

Fact#2 :- Bejing, by right should not have been the host of the 2008. Juan antionio samaranch ( who bears a very real resemblance to Elmer Fudd), in his excitement to award the games to Bejing, ( whose bid was outdone by the excellent presentation of Toronto) did not consider the very problematic and very serious social and political variables that would most certainly come to the surface in asking china to host the games.

Fact #3 :- Dick Pound, by right, should have been the current IOC President. Juan Antonio Samaranch conspired with Jacque Rogge to oust Mr. Pound from ever getting that position even though Mr. Pound's devotion to the Olympic movement was incredibly exemplary.

Fact # 4:- Should the turmoil surrounding the torch relay continue or even escalate, this will hurt Doha's chances because the IOc will try as hard as possible not to have another games with such negative anxiety surrounding them.

fact #5: It is impossible to separate politics from sport. The mere fact that athletes represent their respective countries while participating in the olympics is the most basic evidence of this.

--------------------

Rule, and rule well.

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am i the only one who can see how all this publicity and headline news is fantastic for the IOC. we'll look back on the Beijing Area remembering the protests and the IOC response and the atmosphere of the Games. The marketing department must be very happy. if anything the publicity contributes to the continuation of the games and interest from prospective cities for decades to come.

I can tell you from IOC sources that the IOC is not happy at all (and that's an understatement).

The most surprising is that they didn't see it coming...

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am i the only one who can see how all this publicity and headline news is fantastic for the IOC. we'll look back on the Beijing Area remembering the protests and the IOC response and the atmosphere of the Games. The marketing department must be very happy. if anything the publicity contributes to the continuation of the games and interest from prospective cities for decades to come.

I really dont believe that to be the case. This is nightmare publicity for an organisation that is about peace, friendship and uniting the world in friendly competition. The saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity is a lie.

Seeing the olympic flame extinguished, fought over, jostled and heckled, does the IOC no good at all. Its a symbol of what the games stands for and that symbol is being tarnished everytime a policeman has to jostle someone to the ground. God knows what will happen if this continues to the games, and what protests will be planned then.

I am a massive supporter of the olympics I love the spectacle, the sport everything. I was standing on Oxford Street as the flame passed, there were protesters there but they were protesting peacefully which gave their protest more dignity. The trouble I had was that before the torch passed. A big Coca Cola bus passed complete with dancing girls and more advertising that you could shake a stick at. Following that another advertising van passed telling me about some computer I have never heard of. Everywhere people had samsung flags and banners. Then the torch passed and it was all over.

I really was dis-heartened. I remember been in the mall last year and being extatic as the torch arrived, it was an amazing feeling, the crowd cheering it was such an atmosphere. I got nothing of that on Sunday, it just made me fell sad.

Citys of the world I believe will think long and hard about the kind of attention the games bring you it will be very hard under such a spotlight.

Im sure by 2012 the world will be ready to party and London will be a great stage for that, I think these games will be very spectacular and one hell of a show, but I think the IOC will breathe a massive sigh of relief once they are over

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I hope that hasn't affected their view of London 2012 or London. What do you think Jeremie?

I don't think it has.

London has already been awarded the Games and is preparing a spectacular Games.

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am i the only one who can see how all this publicity and headline news is fantastic for the IOC. we'll look back on the Beijing Area remembering the protests and the IOC response and the atmosphere of the Games. The marketing department must be very happy. if anything the publicity contributes to the continuation of the games and interest from prospective cities for decades to come.

I like the theory, but I can't see how anyone within the IOC can be happy about this. And if, as Jeremie suggests, they really did not see this coming, then one really has to ask some searching questions.

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am i the only one who can see how all this publicity and headline news is fantastic for the IOC. we'll look back on the Beijing Area remembering the protests and the IOC response and the atmosphere of the Games. The marketing department must be very happy. if anything the publicity contributes to the continuation of the games and interest from prospective cities for decades to come.

I don't see how you can think that Mo. This is one case where "any publicity is good publicity" is way off the mark. Sure, it's getting front page and lead news bulletin attention on the Games _ but for all the wrong reasons. Anybody who has witnessed a Torch relay before (and there's many of us here on GB who have) know that in the past it has been a cheerful, good-spirited occassion that does wonderful things in raising anticipation of the joyous games that are ahead. All this is doing is breeding discontent and anxiety about what is ahead. I can't see how the IOC can be happy about footage and images that are associating its name and the Olympics with conflict and divisiveness instead of joyousnness and easger anticipation.

Edited by Sir Roltel
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I can tell you from IOC sources that the IOC is not happy at all (and that's an understatement).

The most surprising is that they didn't see it coming...

And to support that:

SYDNEY, April 8 AAP - Senior Olympic officials have been dismayed by the vehemence of the pro-Tibet protests against the Olympic torch, Australian IOC member John Coates says.

``We are not surprised that there are protests, but we did not expect that they would be violent protests,'' Coates today told AAP from Beijing, where he has been attending meetings four months out from the Games.

``We didn't expect that torch-bearers would be assaulted in the way they have been in Paris and London.

``That's a pity, and we trust that that won't be the case everywhere - and particularly in Australia.''

Coates supports the right of pro-Tibet activists to use the torch's Australian leg in Canberra on April 24 to publicise their cause.

``I think they're entitled to protest and those athletes who cherish the Olympic Games and who see the torch as a symbol of everything that's good about the Olympics should be able to enjoy the moment too.

``What I hope will happen is that we recognise each other's rights.

``Maybe I'm dreaming. We'll wait and see.''

Coates said that if the Chinese were alarmed at the torch protests they weren't showing it.

He attended a briefing today by Liu Qi, president of the Games organising committee BOCOG, which dealt with the torch relay, including the scheduled leg in Tibet itself.

``It was a very matter of fact report,'' Coates said.

``I don't think it's in their nature to share any concerns they might have in that regard. They certainly didn't today.''

Coates said he could not rule out that the level of publicity might encourage some in the Australian team to make their own protests in Beijing.

``They may, but I've had no current Australian team member come to me and express any concerns on any human rights issues.''

He said he had no problem with athletes expressing their opinions on Tibet or any other matter, provided it did not amount to a demonstration, which is forbidden under their eligibility conditions as Olympians.

``I've taken the view that expressing an opinion on human rights in a blog stops short of being a demonstration,'' he said.

``I'm happy to give them that opportunity and I don't think I'm breaching the IOC eligibility codes in doing so.

``We won't be censoring them.''

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I really think the events of this week have shaken the IOC. Rogge has finally called on China to start fulfilling it's moral obligations:

BEIJING, April 10, 2008 (AFP) - International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge called Thursday for China to respect its commitment to improve human rights ahead of the Beijing Games.

At a press conference, Rogge emphasised that Chinese officials promised when they made their bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics that being awarded the Games would ``advance the social agenda of China, including human rights''.

``This is what I would call a moral engagement rather than a juridical (legal) one,'' he said.

``We definitely ask China to respect this moral engagement.''

The IOC has so far steered clear of joining in overseas pressure on China over its crackdown on Tibet and human rights concerns.

Earlier, Rogge said there were no plans to cut short the troubled torch relay for the Beijing Games.

``This scenario is definitely not on the agenda,'' he told reporters when asked whether the issue of cutting short the relay would be discussed when IOC executive board members meet in Beijing later on Thursday and Friday.

Rogge said a week of protests targeting the relay by groups critical of China had thrown the Olympics into ``crisis'' but that they would rebound in time for the Beijing Games in August.

Rogge was speaking at a joint meeting between the Association of National Olympic Committees and the IOC executive board in the Chinese capital.

He said sports leaders should reassure athletes that Beijing was on track to stage a successful Olympics.

``Tell them that whatever they have seen and heard, the Games will be very well-organised. Tell them that we will rebound from this current crisis,'' Rogge said.

Protesters seeking to highlight China's rule of Tibet and other human rights issues disrupted the torch relay in London on Sunday and Paris on Monday and forced a change in the relay route in San Francisco on Wednesday.

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Looks like Rogge is finally coming out of his shell. To tell China that they need to start fulfilling their promise & moral committment probably took a lot of nerve on his part.

And it will be interesting to see how the Chinese Government reacts.

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Very little and very late...

Unbelievable it took near riots during the Torch Relay to come to this statement.

It will be interesting to see whether the IOC will let the athletes wear the "For a better world" sign...

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Very little and very late...

Unbelievable it took near riots during the Torch Relay to come to this statement.

Well, Not to excuse him, but he is between a rock and a hard place in all this. It's probably the best we can expect.

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well heres a question from what i gather this bid was set up sometime in 2001 with most of the same people in the Chinese Government and the IOC (that are in charge now). So going on that wouldn't they have thought about somthing like this in the 7 years or so leading up to the games?

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Well, Not to excuse him, but he is between a rock and a hard place in all this. It's probably the best we can expect.

Yea, on the other hand he had 7 years to see it coming and nobody begs him for running for IOC Presidency (and no one told him it was going to be an easy job).

I would have had no problem with this stance months ago. But after b*llshiting us about how politics and sports are not linked, to come with this statement is the very very least he could do.

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At a press conference, Rogge emphasised that Chinese officials promised when they made their bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics that being awarded the Games would ``advance the social agenda of China, including human rights''.

``This is what I would call a moral engagement rather than a juridical (legal) one,'' he said.

CNN is reporting that the foreign minister is quote the Olympic charter back saying sports and politics are not suppose to mix.

Well, Not to excuse him, but he is between a rock and a hard place in all this. It's probably the best we can expect.

They put themselves in this place.

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CNN is reporting that the foreign minister is quote the Olympic charter back saying sports and politics are not suppose to mix.

They put themselves in this place.

Yeah, a real war of words and claims has broken out.

China warns IOC on political statements

April 10, 2008 -

China has warned the Olympics governing body to keep "irrelevant political factors" away from the Games, after its chief urged Beijing to honour pledges to improve human rights.

International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge said pro-Tibet protests dogging the torch relay had left the Games in crisis, and publicly reminded China of its promise to advance human rights.

Hours later, China said it had uncovered a criminal ring planning to kidnap athletes and others at the August Games.

And Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said no-one had the right to tell protesters demanding freedom for his homeland "to shut up" and said he felt demonised by the Chinese government.

Rogge said Chinese officials had promised, when they made their bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, that being awarded the Games would "advance the social agenda of China, including human rights".

"We definitely ask China to respect this moral engagement," he said.

The IOC has so far steered clear of joining in overseas pressure on China over its crackdown on Tibet and human rights concerns.

But Rogge, after witnessing violent scenes at torch relay legs in London and Paris and protests in San Francisco, appeared compelled to raise the issue as the IOC executive board met in Beijing Thursday.

The relay protests had thrown the Olympics into "crisis," he said, but he believed they would rebound in time for the Games in August.

Sports leaders should reassure athletes that Beijing was on track to stage a successful Olympics, he said.

"Tell them that whatever they have seen and heard, the Games will be very well-organised. Tell them that we will rebound from this current crisis."

The comments drew an immediate response from China, which urged the IOC to keep "irrelevant political factors" away from the Games.

"I believe IOC officials support the Beijing Olympics and adherence to the Olympic charter of not bringing in any irrelevant political factors," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters.

"I hope IOC officials continue to adhere to principles of the Olympic charter," he said, in responding to Rogge's earlier comments on human rights.

Speaking in Japan on his first foreign trip since unrest broke out in Tibet last month, Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, reiterated that he backed China's right to host the Olympic Games.

But he insisted that nobody had the right to tell protesters demanding freedom for Tibet "to shut up".

He also said he felt demonised by the Chinese government, which has accused him of fomenting the recent unrest in Tibet.

"I really feel very sad the government demonises me. I am just a human, I am not a demon," he told reporters.

On the issue of the ongoing protests, he called for non-violence but said: "The expression of their feelings is up to them".

"Nobody has the right to tell them to shut up. One of the problems in Tibet is that there is no freedom of speech.

"Autonomy (in Tibet) is just in name, it is not sincerely implemented. The crisis is the expression of their (Tibetans') deep regret."

The Olympic torch is now on its way to Buenos Aires in Argentina, after dramatic scenes in San Francisco, where organisers fearful of more violence rerouted the leg and halved its length, leaving supporters disappointed and confused.

Rogge said he was "saddened" by the violent protests in London and Paris, but believed the stop in San Francisco had been an improvement and that the relay would not be cut short.

"It was, however, not the joyous party that we had wished it to be," he said in Beijing, where he is attending a joint meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees and the IOC's executive board.

In a measure if the rising sensitivities, Rogge stressed athletes would not be allowed to engage in propaganda at the Beijing Games, but insisted they would have free speech.

"For us freedom of expression is something that is absolute, it is a human right, athletes have it," he said.

But he said athletes would have to comply with "small" restrictions contained in the Olympic Charter, the rule book of the Olympic Games, which bans religious, political or racial propaganda from Olympic venues.

World leaders have faced mounting calls from rights groups to boycott the opening ceremony in Beijing in protest against China's crackdown on Tibet, which it has ruled since 1950.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is among those heeding the boycott, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said he would also not be attending, although it stressed his plans had not changed.

"He's never been going to the Olympic opening ceremony. We have always said he's going to the closing ceremony," a spokeswoman for his office said.

The White House refused again to say whether President George W Bush would attend, saying it was "extremely premature" to say what his schedule would be for August.

Bush himself vowed in an interview to press China on human rights at the Beijing Olympics but chafed at calls for a boycott.

"Nobody needs to tell old George Bush that he needs to bring religious freedom to the doorstep of the Chinese, because I've done that now for - I'm on my eighth year doing it," he told EWTN television, a Catholic network.

"I've talked about freedom of religion every time I visited with them. I've talked about Darfur. I've talked about Burma. I've talked about the Dalai Lama. I don't need the Olympics to express my position."

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has not said if he will attend, but used a speech in Beijing to deliver a blunt message that there are "significant" human rights issues in Tibet.

Despite the ongoing protests, Rogge again stressed there were no plans to cut short the Beijing torch relay.

"This scenario is definitely not on the agenda," he said.

© 2008 AAP

So what's the story on this kidnapping plot arrests?

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China trying to detract attention away from Tibet by using Xinjiang as a scapegoat. There have been no internal terrorist attacks in recent memory, so China is using the Olympics to crack down on dissidents.

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The entire situation makes me recall the 1936 Olympics where Nazis tried to turn the Olympics into a massive propaganda coup. It's time for the IOC to make a firm stand against the Chinese Government to improve its policies on human rights. How can one enjoy the biggest gathering on the planet when the host country is suppressing its own people? If the Olympic Games represents the best of humanity, the current IOC leadership is certainly not fulfilling its vision.

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What annoys me most about the IOC:

- claiming that sports and politics don't belong together, when its suit its plans, but emphasising that the Olympic Games will improve the situation of human rights in the hosting nation, which is a political task...

- it is a mystery for me that the official website of the IOC doesn't mention the crisis, but a discussion about the air in in Beijing - I take that as a sign that the IOC tries to take us as fools - there is not information at all...

- I wonder why the current IOC-president demands only now that China has to keep its promise of 2001 to improve the human rights situation - the riots in Tibet have already shown that China didn't keep its promise of the bid...

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius
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