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China's Dislike of Activism Unmasked — Officials Revoke Visa

China's Dislike of Activism Unmasked — Officials Revoke Visa

The Chinese government has a short fuse when it comes to tolerating activist-athletes. Chinese officials revoked the visa of Joey Cheek, a gold-medal speedskater and co-founder of Team Darfur. Cheek, who won the gold at the 2006 Olympics, helped create the organization of athletes dedicated to ending human rights violations in the Darfur region of Sudan. China has come under fire for its human rights policies and for purchasing large amounts of oil from Sudan.

And perhaps not wanting to be booted out of China themselves, the four US cyclists who wore black pollution masks over their noses and mouths in the Beijing airport have apologized. The US Olympic Committee chief said the athletes sent a written apology to the Beijing Organizing Committee because "they've now seen how their actions have been perceived. They were very eager to take the right action, which was to apologize to their hosts." Do you think an apology was in order?

The US Olympic team has chosen a Sudanese refugee to carry the American flag at the Beijing Opening Ceremonies. I wonder how China feels about that.


Join The Conversation
mirmir4 mirmir4 9 years
joey cheek is such a cutie! is it shallow if part of the reason i watch the olympics is for the man-candy? i don't think those athletes should have to apologize for trying to protect their health. what about all the anti-smoking legislation in the US? if those athletes were expected to compete in a bar filled with smokers, people would be outraged... but the air quality isn't any better.
qtpie qtpie 9 years
agreed, nylorac. so hypocritical of george bush to condemn china. he should take a look at himself first.
nylorac nylorac 9 years
At least China's not as hypocritical about its lack of respect for human rights as the US is. We're in bed with Saudi Arabia and Iran. If you criticize other countries you have to be able to be criticized. The Olympics is about the games and it's sad that politics have essentially ruined it. As for the revocation of Cheek's visa, that is indeed very sad and for China to have done that was clearly in fear of his beliefs. And for the gas masked protesters to have apologized, that was clearly their decision; China never forced them to do it. You could argue that they were 'goaded' into it by fear of retribution from the Chinese government, but I've seen plenty of similar environmental protests in China from foreigners in much less benign measures, and nothing has happened to them. For them to be paranoid is their own issue.
qtpie qtpie 9 years
sad how the focus is all on politics when it really should be about sports
stephley stephley 9 years
Chinese authorities held up the White House press plane when it landed in Beijing - to me the games aren't worth the insults.
janneth janneth 9 years
There is a lot of hype about the spectacle of the opening ceremonies. I may even watch it.
janneth janneth 9 years
Isn't China buying up the US?
suziryder suziryder 9 years
The cyclists shouldn't have had to apologize. A lot of Chinese people wear face masks in Beijing! Let's face it, the city is horribly polluted. These are Olympian athletes who use their lungs in a big way and need them to be in prime condition for the races. The athletes shouldn't suffer the ill effects of the pollution just to keep the Chinese from being offended.
Meike Meike 9 years
The Chinese government is always putting up a "face". They're so disgustingly corrupt. I feel sorry for its people who try to branch out of that way of thinking.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
No one should be surprised any more about China's handling of the Olympics. And I agree with the others that the Olympics shouldn't have been there to begin with for a number of reasons. That said, I LOVE the Olympics because of the sheer athletic glory that it entails. Will be hard not to watch.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
Side note, and off topic, Joey has the sweetest, kindest face..gorgeous eyes, as others have said.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
I think and fear you are right, Stephley. Its disgusting to me that the athletes cannot act as they feel they should, especially when its issues of health, and potentially their performance. After all, the Olympics was supposed to rise ABOVE politics, not wallow in it. The Visa revoke is in poor taste, and only heightens my frustration and disgust at this year's games. I support the athletes, I support the countries and the spirit of the games... but my feelings on China are only marginally worse than the feelings I have about the other countries who have now rendered themselves so indebted or so enfeebled that they will no longer stand up for what is inherently wrong, wrong, wrong.
stephley stephley 9 years
This really is a scary sign of things to come - China's economy is only growing, its become an important market so the rest of the world is going to have to deal with Beijing on its terms from now on. We've lost any chance of affecting or modifying its behavior. The U.S. isn't in much of a position to take the moral high road because of Iraq, as shown by our ineffective efforts on Darfur. All this bowing to them at the Olympics is the future.
valancyjane valancyjane 9 years
I adore Joey Cheek; he is from my town, so he comes back quite often, and after the '06 Olympics there was a big billboard of him on a main road. I drove by there quite often ... sigh ... Anyway, he is a class act and I think China has shown its true colors by revoking his visa. Don't like what he's saying, shut him down. It makes me sick to think about how much of this must go on. And apologizing for the masks is ridiculous. What, if I wear a coat when I go to Alaska I should apologize to the governor for implying it's cold there? Maybe you could see some political overtones in their action, but you'd really have to stretch it to see that as wholly a political act.
Bettyjane Bettyjane 9 years
Just another example! The only reason we are tolerating China's BS is for political reasons. The US needs to do what is right human rights, not what is good for politics. China=Fail
stephley stephley 9 years
Hypno, you are so right about his eyes - stupid China!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I don't think we should allow China's absurdity to dissolve our support for the American team. We should watch the games and enjoy them just like any other. I will agree that China's stance is very disheartening and although they've got a long way to go to reach our satisfaction of human rights and fair civilized treatment of people we must also recognize that they have also come a long way since the Nixon administrations visit in the 70's. It's not very comforting in light of the circumstances but in some ways their moving in the right direction.
kia kia 9 years
I hope the IOC makes a note of the kind of BS going on with this Olympics as they pick future host countries.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
I'd like to say I've lost interest in the games, but I'll probably still watch the events. There are so many athletes who go to school or trained at the U of A I can't help but want to watch. That said, the fact that they had to issue an apology for the face masks is ridiculous. They weren't making a political statement, just trying to protect the bodies they've worked long and hard to keep in top condition. I'm sure if they kicked out every athlete who had a soft spot for Darfur, they'd have a damn short list of competitors.
em113 em113 9 years
I agree Stephley. I blogged about this yesterday, I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Having the olympics in China is beyond absurd at this point.
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
I always thought that the Olympic site sort of becomes like the UN...not part of any country or nation. Just a joining of many. Seems that my assumption was clearly that. I find these posts interesting because we often forget the things we take most for granted like, freedom of speech.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Sorry, let me rephrase: Could we go one day without Olympics news? They're like the Hills cast for CitizenSugar. So many posts, but everyone* is either annoyed by them or doesn't care. *When I say everyone, I'm using a hyperbole. What I literally mean is a lot of people, and I'm basing that off of the comments on recent Olympics-related posts. I do not literally mean every single person who reads this site ever. I'm sure there are people who love, love, love it, but in my estimation, a lot of people are just mad at China.
em1282 em1282 9 years
I've always had a superficial crush on Joey Cheek, but now it's nice to know that it's now vindicated and not-so-superficial anymore. I agree with Stephley. I could care less about the Olympics now.
kscincotta kscincotta 9 years
Actually, I just want to confirm that not everyone is annoyed or doesn't care about the Olympics and the news surrounding them. I'm fascinated by the whole event and love reading about all the aspects of the games. Please don't speak for everyone, torgleson. If you don't like the posts, don't read them. But please let the rest of us enjoy them.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Could we go one day without Olympics news? They're like the Hills cast for CitizenSugar. So many posts, but everyone is either annoyed by them or doesn't care.
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