Friday, August 08, 2008

Playing Games With The Olympics

Whilst some athletes have been able to sign a petition addressed to the Chinese president, Spain’s competitors in the Olympics had the riot act read to them a few days ago by their own Olympic chief. No politics, or you go home, was his message as he repeated the old chestnut about it being time for sport to take priority over everything else. I’m not sure the Chinese government sees it that way, but in the best traditions of the Olympics making political use of the event is seen as being the prerogative of the host nation. At first it was thought that no blogs would be permitted for the athletes, but that now seems to be not the case as long as they steer clear of anything controversial.

Spain of course is an aspiring host for the games in 2016, and foreign minister Moratinos claimed yesterday that Spain was now China’s best friend in Europe. To celebrate this great leap forward we got agreement from the Chinese for the first Spanish companies to export ham to China. Let’s hope they don’t get to like it too much as it’s expensive enough already. Perhaps if they smear the ham with cabrales that will act as a deterrent. During all the protests over Tibet earlier in the year Madrid’s very own Pharoah, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, disappeared off to Beijing for a few days. He had little to say about human rights but when he saw the Olympic Stadium he was said to have uttered words along the lines of “I want one of those for my city”.

Meanwhile, back home, one of the few judges not involved in chasing De Juana Chaos instead decided to accept a case against several members of the Chinese government for their repression of the protests in Tibet. Moratinos claimed that the subject was not even raised in his meetings with Chinese representatives, so we can safely assume he won’t be attempting a citizen’s arrest during his stay in China. Maybe he will find time to watch some sport instead.

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