We’ve all known that these upcoming Olympic games were a bad idea, and that’s putting it insultingly lightly. When they were first announced, even if you could get past the tiny little morsel of the egregious human rights abuses of the Chinese government (and you shouldn’t), there’s the whole thing about Beijing having no snow or not being all that cold in February. And then there’s the human rights abuses. Also, the horrific pollution. And the human rights abuses.
Throw in the fact that the pandemic is still raging, and China just recorded its first case of Omicron — which means there are probably a whole lot more on the way — and the whole thing is odious. NBC has pulled all of its broadcasters, and they will be announcing the events from Connecticut. And NBC is the main reason any of this horseshit goes on.
But, as a poker player might say, everyone is pot-committed now. There’s no turning back. And the Chinese organizers wanted to hammer that home for anyone who might be considering pointing out the main problem with China having these Games.
Here’s the money quote from Yang Shu, the deputy director of international relations for the Games organizing committee:
“Any expression that is in line with the Olympic spirit I’m sure will be protected,” said Yang. “Any behaviour or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment.”
Well, that’s certainly a wheel-pose. Here’s the Olympics’ website, for really no reason at all:
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) actively pursues the goals of protecting the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and contributing to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world.
Unless those conflicts are contained within one country’s borders, apparently. Then shut the fuck up, we got checks to cash.
• Create a window of opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation, separate from any religious, economic or political influence.
The dialog here is do what the government tells you, and you say, “Ok.” Also, it’s a little unsettling, and by a “little” I mean “jarring to the bone,” that athletes are being encouraged to not bring their own phones, or are being forced to download an app that will allow the Chinese government to track them. What was that about “free of political influence?”
The Olympics has made it clear in the past that political speech isn’t welcome, as the IOC continually chases the false idea that the Games can take place in a bubble where the world’s problems can’t hurt it. But if the idea is to bring people together, perhaps enlightening the world to the plight of those being horribly oppressed would… maybe… bring people together? The Uyghurs might rejoice in knowing that there were others fighting for them. But they aren’t paying the IOC, are they?
We are all intimately familiar with the Games destroying the cities that are somehow forced into hosting them. You’d be hard pressed to find a citizenry that actively wanted the Games (coming your way, Los Angeles!). And it’s not fair that we, or more importantly those residents, should have to live with such a thing. But it’s a whole other thing when the Games are held in a country that explicitly tells athletes to not even mention the awful things its government does or they’ll be tossed in a hole for an indeterminate amount of time. After all, this is a country that might have disappeared one of its own simply because she accused a government official of raping her.
The IOC thinks that the Games exist only for people to talk about how great the Games are and nothing else. And shows no compunction about using the totalitarian nature of the Chinese government to forward that aim. That’s why they were such an obedient pet in echoing China’s assurances that nothing had happened to Peng Shuai. Why are we putting up with these assholes again? Oh right, NBC.
Boy, that whole U.S.-led diplomatic boycott sure was the hammer, huh? China and the IOC are really feeling the sting.