Agreeing with Peter Slipper: on Gosper and hatred

First I was agreeing with Greg Sheridan, and now I find myself agreeing with long-serving Qld Liberal MP, Peter Slipper, who has strongly criticised Kevan Gosper, Australia’s senior member of the International Olympic Committee, for his ridiculous slurs against pro human rights and Tibet protestors as “professional spoilers filled with hate and resentment”.

The IOC’s repeatedly justified their decision to hold the Olympics in Beijing by saying that as a consequence the Chinese government had promised to improve their human rights record, and the resulting global spotlight would encourage that promise to be met. Having ignored that promise from virtually the day it was given, the IOC can hardly complain now that the global community is trying to use that Olympic spotlight to help it achieve what the IOC said it would.

It is probably no coincidence that some in the IOC are now resorting to tawdry abuse that sounds quite similar to what comes forth from the Chinese government itself.

In a sign of how seriously the Chinese government took their pledge to improve their human rights performance, when IOC President Jacques Rogge asked the Chinese government to respect their promise to advance human rights, a Chinese government spokesperson chided him for saying the Games were in crisis, and urged him to “adhere to the Olympic charter of not bringing in any irrelevant political factors.” Core promise one day, ‘irrelevant political factor’ the next!

Elsewhere, the announcement by Chinese police that they had arrested 45 alleged Muslim terrorists amongst the Uighur people in the north-western province of Xinjiang has been met with some scepticism in a range of quarters (apart from the IOC, who amazingly say they haven’t been given any information about the “alleged terrorist plots.” Perhaps it comes under the category of an “irrelevant political factor.”

Perhaps the Chinese government hoped the arrest of the Uighurs would turn attention away from Tibet. Perhaps it will – but the result might be more people becoming aware about how much the Uighurs are copping in the neck from the Chinese regime as well.  If you want to see how the Chinese government treats Uighurs, this story from the BBC last year gives an idea.

An ethnic Uighur Muslim activist has been executed by China for “attempting to split the motherland”. ….. The case has been criticised by rights groups who say the conviction was based mainly on his alleged links to an outlawed separatist movement. ….. Semed’s wife, Buhejer, told Radio Free Asia she was only allowed 10 minutes with her husband before he was executed.

I doubt the 45 Uighurs who’ve been arrested are feeling very comfortable to the moment.

Another activity of the Chinese government which gets little attention is their habit of sending back refugees who are fleeing North Korea, even though many of them undoubtedly are killed as a consequence.

In another apparent example of the Olympics leading to a ramping up rather than a winding down of human rights problems, it is reported that the Chinese government has

demanded the U.N. refugee agency grant no more asylum to North Korean refugees flowing into the country until the Beijing Olympics is over, threatening not to issue exit visas for 17 North Korean refugees being protected by the agency in the Chinese capital unless the demand is met.

That is, they won’t even give them visas to go to other countries, such as South Korea, which will almost certainly give them asylum.  This site documents more of this practice, and asserts that “China is trying to ”cleanse” itself of North Korean refugees to help insure a dissent-free Olympics.”
Finally, a couple of opinion pieces arguing for and against engaging fully with the Olympics. This one by Binoy Kampmark on the ABC website argues in favour of boycotts, while this one in The Age by Kimberley Crow, who has been selected in the Australian rowing team for the Olympics, criticises those who are getting on the “boycott bus”, and says that Olympic great Dawn Fraser, who has said that human rights concerns means she will not be attending in Beijing, is “trivialising the underlying strength of the Olympic movement.”

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  1. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I can’t stand Kevan Gosper. How this slimy man managed to keep his job after 2000 is a mystery to me.

    This is the same guy who bumped a selected runner off the Sydney Olympics torch relay to let his daughter have a go. There were other things he became notorious for, but, offhand I can’t recall the details. Too long ago.

  2. I don’t really believe that a boycott will achieve anything. Although the Olympics provides a good vehicle for highlighting the issues in Tibet and providing some publicity, I don’t think it’s going to be an effective platform for pressuring the Chinese Government to reform.

  3. Mixed bag,of for and againsters!?And slippery as slippery elm if kept moist.There are more propaganda events going on than the Chinese hope itself.Kimberly gives Andrew Bartlett a deft hand that doesnt indicate a butterfly is free,but a black- eye to you Andrew!?The Senator can handle it,after all he isnt full of eager contradictions,but,taking a position,that doesnt really enhance his political prospects,at least for sometime,because they are dashed.Strange thing though,the Chinese Government as an intelligent machine,may actually prefer this blog,as examples of the variation of opinions than elsewhere,because it may ring more honestly to them.I dont think Spielberg is a master intelligence on the planet about much,since reading some stuff about the Deniers of the great gassing of Jews.He is now in the same camp as Al Gore on Climate Change,and all the the razz and jazz of American interests in the Chinese avoidance of being a responsible government,re human rights stinks… like so many corpses already calculated,but being washed for acceptance by Coca Cola.I think a point can be made about the Chinese so far under this criticism,which I totally accept mainly,and for whatever reason,apart from their law enforcement on dissenters,are not showing the amassed dragoon bands of superficiality and stupidity which is the lot of the moral high campers,like the U.S.A. itself.Like a endless band of droneing bagpipes the Chinese will hear from now on.Yes the many with more deaths to their names than obvious deceit from their mouths,will be blowing up the Human Rights bagpipe,until all hear,through hill and dale.If the Chinese want to change as much as not want to be dominated by this,they can do what comes naturally.. laugh a little,and then think are their critics right!?They may well be,but dont count me in as a droneful bagpiper,I have too much respect for my lungs!?

  4. I think Kevan Gosper has his job because the IOC has been exposed as greedy, venal and corrupt with little concern for human rights.

    Whether any boycott will achieve anything is long debated. But one thing it surely does is draw attention to situation.

  5. There is no doubt or confusion about Chinese terrible human rights records although there is a lot of confusion about how to handle Chinese ‘factor’. Under Mao Tse-Tung and his cultural revolution, millions and millions of people were killed but the West was not troubled much, then. I remember I was visiting London at the time and was utterly surprised at the number of “Great Leap’ supporters.When the ‘one child’ policy was introduced many Australians were trying to explain me ( I was new to the country then) that the policy is good because of the overpopulated China. There were numerous reports about forced abortions in late pregnancies. We thought there are too many people in China, anyway.
    I haven’t seen many protesters in Paris criticising the French government for their gulags in Algier. Neither would San Francisco inhabitants worry so much about Guantanamo or human rights for millions of Iraqi refugees.
    When Mr. Spielberg decided to spit the dummy (he should have never taken up the job, in the first place) Crikey reminded its readers that the same film guru was a great friend of Fidel Castro and a staunch supporter of the invasion of Iraq.
    Now, when the whole focus of the Olympics has shifted from very important human rights issues to virtually bickering between the Olympic Committee and many ‘concerned’members of the comunity, Olivia Newton-Jones is happily walking down the Chinese Wall promoting cancer research. It beats me.

  6. If our problem is with the Chinese government, why should we worry where people like Olivia Newton John walk to raise money? Surely it’s irrelevant.

    As to Paris, I can’t confirm that there haven’t been protests about Algiers. And I think you’ll find a significant portion of San Fransiscans oppose their government re Iraq and Guantanamo.

    But as has been noted in other threads, there are (and always will be) elements of hypocrisy when it comes to human rights, but that shouldn’t stop us trying to do what is right.

  7. I think it is the feeling of anger that drives people to protest China. When I first saw the following footage of Chinese soldiers killing Tibetan pilgrims, I got mad.

    No one can be perfect and let’s protest China and stop the killing before we accuse others for not being perfect.

  8. I thought human rights are universal and not for the selected few and I still do not think the human rights should be the subject to trends, fashions and mood swings.
    The Great Wall of China would be an ideal place to demonstrate our support for Tibetans.
    No, there haven’t been violent demonstrations in Paris against Algiers and they haven’t been violent demonstrations in San Francisco against any war. I am sure our media would let us know if they were.

  9. The Dalai Lama is to return home and the Tibetan people set free. What we are viewing is the beginning of this movement. What Mr. Gosper feels about it is irrelevant.

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