Monday, February 18, 2008

On the Defensive

Instead of letting the Spielberg fiasco die quietly, the Chinese are on the defensive, keeping the story alive.

China's ambassador to Sudan gave an exclusive interview to the Xinhua News Agency, saying "we have been making unremitting efforts to help solve the crisis [in Darfur]."

Li Chengwen listed what China has been doing, including working closely with the United Nations, having direct talks with the Sudanese government, proposing peace talks between the various parties involved, and sending troops to keep the peace.

He added China has donated 80 million yuan (around US$11 million) in aid, helped dig 46 wells and build 20 small-scale power plants.

And therefore, Li said, the international community cannot say China is not doing its part.

However, he neglected to mention China is one of the biggest investors in the Sudan and also supplies weapons to the African country.

Nevertheless, the chorus trying to tone down Spielberg's exit continued with International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge saying the Olympics is a sporting, not a political event.

"His [Spielberg's] absence will not harm the quality of the Games. The Beijing Games are much stronger than individuals."

Rogge also warned athletes would be punished if they used the Games as a political stage.

The British Olympic Committee (BOC) recently tried to force its athletes to sign a contract promising they would not speak out against China otherwise they would be kicked out or not included in the national team.

This sparked immediate outrage and the BOC had to back down.

Most athletes know they shouldn't be making political statements at the Olympics. They just want to compete against the world's best. And hopefully get a sponsorship.... or two.

1 comment:

ks said...

i agree 100% to jacques rogge's statement. as i pointed out before no individual can dictate the spirit of the olympic games . it is an international gathering for sports competition not a political arena as the u.n. if spielberg is so keen on the darfur issue he should do what george clooney does -visit the place, mingle with its people, study the issues and go from there.