What is this handbasket we’re in, and where is it going?

Access denied

And the stories just keep rolling.

China has revoked the visa of American speed-skating gold medalist Joey Cheek, who is a known Darfur activist. Cheek, who is the President of a group of athletes known as Team Darfur, was planning to spend a couple weeks in China watching this year’s games.

When contacted by authorities, Cheek was informed that they were not required to give him a reason as to why his visa was revoked. Transparency issues aside, it’s a little strange that China would revoke the visa of anyone during the games, with the thought process being not what they have done, but what they might do. Especially when they’re trying to use the games to build good will around the globe.

What’s even more surprising, however, is the way in which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is actively discouraging athletes from any form of protest. It seems that athletes are supposed to come from all corners of the globe, gather in a hotspot for human rights debate, check their ethics and morals at the door and to participate in what is, essentially, nothing more than a sporting event.

Then again, the IOC has as much to lose with the prospect of a botched Olympics as anyone for allowing China to host the games in the first place. I believe the definition of gullibility is believing a totalitarian regime when they say they won’t infringe upon individual rights, won’t deny access to reporters, and will fully embrace the “Olympic spirit.”


August 6, 2008 - Posted by | Chinese Olympics

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