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China Clamps Down and Cleans House for Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as China, are looking for ways to make the Beijing Olympics run smoothly this summer.

China finally admitted yesterday that it has been tightening visa controls. Fears that activists, or even terrorists may disrupt the games, the government is implementing a more strict procedure. Typically easy to get business visas will not be available from mid-April until mid-October.

Foreign students are also being told to leave for July and August. Some estimate that as many as 10,000 students will be exiled, as China attempts to reduce the number of potential protesters.

Meanwhile in the arena, athletes' clothes and gestures will be subject to Olympic Rules. The IOC clarified "Rule 53.1" which says that "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." Athletes are free to answer media questions about political topics but cannot express such opinions with their look, external appearance, clothing, gestures, and written or oral statements at official Olympic sites.

Are these restrictions necessary to a safe and smooth Olympics? Do you think athletes should be able to express their opposition to human rights violations? Are the Olympics ignoring its own tradition of activism, as seen in this picture of USA athletes protesting racism in the US during the 1968 Olympics?

Join The Conversation
onabanana onabanana 9 years
The Olympics represents the greatest achievements in human capacity, which includes not only physical ability but also peoples livelihood. China is naive to believe that it would be simply a sporting event or an occasion for them to use it as a PR stunt. It's plane stupid if they thought that people would not object.
jubex jubex 9 years
of course it's about the athletes, but the olimpics were also created as a way of promoting equality and human rights...i think it's a huge hipocrasy that the olimpics take place in china...and between athletes's achivements and justice for people i choose the the world we live in everything is political and we shouldn't ignore human rigths violation...but it's china and america and europe are dependant, so nothing is really going to change
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Sorry about that. I'll make sure I get my facts straight immediately after I post something ;)
stephley stephley 9 years
Knew about the murders, the bombing reference threw me.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
and their govt. needs to take a chill pill! it's the Olympics people, have fun! (oh and try not to oppress too many people during that time...tends to cause people to protest and whatnot).
nicachica nicachica 9 years
holy crap UnDave, that's horrible! i've heard about the '72 Munich killings but never really the details.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Stephley - I have the facts wrong on the 72 Munich massacre. PLO militants kidnapped and killed several members of the Isreali delegation. After attempting to negotiate a release, the PLO shot some of the Isrealis, and tossed a grenade into the bus carrying the others. When the grenade ignited the gas tank, everyone on the bus was burned alive..
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I think if you benefit economically from the olympics you have to put up with having your government/society under a microscope. Otherwise you shouldn't host the games.
stephley stephley 9 years
Doesn't all this clamping down politicize the Olympics already? Sit down, shut up and put up with our repression seems a bigger statement than a fist in the air or a statement at a news conference.
piper23 piper23 9 years
Thanks, UnDave. All of those are examples of countries taking a stand. I don't think that the Olympic organization itself promotes or has its own tradition of activism - or any agenda at all except to promote the athletes. Its about the athletes and I know there will be protesters but the athletes may only have this one shot. I just hope that the activism does not overshadow their hard work.
stephley stephley 9 years
"the 72 bombing of the Isreal delegateion's bus" huh?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
There has been a history of agendas on both sides... the 68 protest, the 72 bombing of the Isreal delegateion's bus, the 76 basketball "event", the 80 US refusal to participate, the 84 Russian refusal to participate. I can't think of any in the recent games. Given the problems China has, I have a hard time not expecting a lot of protests at the games...
piper23 piper23 9 years
The Olympics are about the games, right? So why use that platform to promote an agenda. And I've never heard of the Olympics having its own history of activism. Are you talking about the athletes having a history or the Olympics as a body?
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