Keep politics out of Olympic bid

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 September, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 September, 1993, 12:00am

HAVING read several letters which are, by and large, outraged by Beijing's bid to host the 2000 Olympics, I would like to add some comments of my own.

Being Chinese, I totally support Beijing's bid for several reasons that I assume your correspondents have overlooked.

The political factor is always put forward by cynics to criticise China. They charge China with mounting propaganda campaigns to buy support and relegate the recent release of dissidents, like Han Dongfang and Wei Jingsheng to hypocritical shows.

Although I do not exclude the possibility that China has such an intention, I am disillusioned when I find the significance of these events has been overlooked. It is impossible to ask a country long accustomed to authoritarian rule to change overnight.

The release of the dissidents gives a good indication that there is an awareness among Chinese leaders that political liberalisation is inevitable in order for China to commit herself to the world family.

At the previous Olympics in Moscow and Los Angeles, countries like Cuba and the former Soviet Union, who banned their sportsmen from joining the contest on political grounds, were always fiercely criticised.

Journalists and politicians at the time declared righteously that politics should not be involved in sport and urged the respective countries to put aside their political differences.

Why can these people nowadays afford to commit the mistake of mixing up politics with the Olympics? It is still of the utmost importance that every country keeps political issues separate from economic or cultural activities otherwise national grievances will change for the worse.

Therefore, I recommend the International Olympic Committee to weigh the merits and demerits of Beijing and Sydney on equal grounds, excluding political factors. Then, even if Beijing loses, I will be content with the result.