10 April, 2008

Sport and Social Justice

"Over the past year, Human Rights Watch has documented numerous abuses in China tied to Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Summer Games, including media and internet censorship, extrajudicial house arrests and sentences on charges of state subversion of government critics, abuses of migrant construction workers, forced evictions, and the ongoing crackdown on protests in Tibet. Last week, leading human rights advocate Hu Jia was given a three-and-a-half-year sentence for criticizing the Chinese government in the context of the Games. Previously, Yang Chunlin received a five-year sentence for having begun a petition titled, “We want human rights, not the Olympics.”

“One goal of awarding China the Olympics was to improve human rights in China and Beijing’s adherence to international standards,” said Roth. “As the Olympic torch relay makes its way around the world, leaders should not be emulating the Chinese government in its opposition to peaceful dissent and protests.”

Human Rights Watch does not support a boycott of the Olympics, but rather urges the Chinese government to fulfill its human rights commitments, particularly those made in order to win the right to host these Games. Human Rights Watch also urges protestors not to use any form of violence in expressing their views and security officials to exercise restraint. "

For more detailed info check out: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/04/09/china18486.htm

"Politics often takes on a false mystique, but at its heart politics has to do with the organisation of human affairs. It describes the regulation, ordering and ideological underpinning of human society. As such, politics is an almost universal concept, encompassing a wide spectrum of life and experience. The idea that certain areas of life such as sport or religion are free from politics must be resisted. These activities are political both internally and in relation to society at large.

For instance, in considering the way sport is structured internationally, issues like power, rules and money are all political issues. In society, sport will play a function in the lives of citizens, and therefore be regulated and perhaps even sponsored by a central government. At times (1981 New Zealand Springbok tour, 2007 Australian Zimbabwe cricket tour, 2008 Beijing Olympics), sport or an aspect of it may become a major political issue, affecting the lives of those who would normally have no contact with it." (Just:Imagine - Danielle Strickland & Campbell Roberts)


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