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Olympic misbehavior from China
John Kusumi
8/17/2004

China stepped over a line in secret orders, for an Olympic-related crackdown on human rights, as leaked [...] by the Free China Movement. The orders made use of the Olympics as a pretext and excuse for a severe crackdown, slated to last through the six years remaining between now and the 2008 Olympics.

"To better welcome the smooth holding of the 2008 Olympic Games in our country," the order "in accordance with regulations from [China's] Ministry of Public Security [the national police headquarters] and Supreme People's Court" describes four levels of punishment for those who do not "obey the suggestions" of the government.

Two of the four levels include specific instructions to conduct arrests without warrants; and, the harshest level of punishment is reserved for practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. In March, police in Changchun were seen to be forcing Falun Gong practitioners out of high rise windows, as the suffering of Falun Gong rose to around 1,700 dead; 20,000 labor camp sentences; and 100,000 arrests.

This is unacceptable conduct in the first place -- and it is unacceptable use of the Olympics' name in the second place. This outrage will rock the sports world, and forms the reason why the International Olympic Committee must revisit the decision which made China the site of the 2008 games.

In marketing, image is everything, and no alert marketing executive in the free world would want his or her brand name associated with the type of conduct represented in China's crackdown on Falun Gong. Howls of outrage will also come from the human rights community, and from the Chinese freedom and democracy movement, where the selection of Beijing was opposed as the IOC made its decision last summer.

The China Support Network has already launched a pressure campaign to "take the Olympics back" from China, and this is the rightfully indicated course of action for the IOC. The secret orders of the Chinese government also list the start date of the crackdown as May 20, 2000 -- fully thirteen months before the Olympic committee made its decision. Eyebrows may rise, where China's leaders were very confident in the outcome of the vote.

The raised eyebrows may go through the roof, in the cities which were passed over in that outcome -- Toronto, Paris, Istanbul, and Osaka. The likely destination of a moved Olympics would be Toronto, which received the second highest number of votes. Organizers of Toronto's bid knew in their hearts that they had the most deserving bid, with all being right, well, and in order. They had boldly predicted a win, and through a twist of fate, they may yet host the 2008 Olympics.

The Free China Movement and the China Support Network are now pushing for this decision, although it should actually be a no-brainer at the IOC, for supporters of human rights, and for all those with any standards of human decency. If more incentive is necessary, the China Support Network, with others, will also boycott Olympic advertisers in the event of a Beijing Olympics in 2008.

It is time now for the Olympic community to side with people and humanity, reflecting our revulsion at the type of systemic abuse reflected in this flagrant order, which is at once tawdry, seedy, and blatant. It is certainly beneath dignifying with the Olympic name. Where China has now offended our
sensibilities, we must send a message back to China: The world has higher standards than this.
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John Kusumi is Executive Director of the China Support Network, former teenage candidate for U.S. President (Ind., ྐ), Ronald Reagan's youngest opponent, and the first GenX politician.


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