Political Power of Olympics – It is time to consider Human Rights Issue in China and IOC
Worldwide organizations protecting and promoting human rights have been appealing the withdrawal of forthcoming Beijing Olympic Winter Games. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), authority to hold the Olympic Games, is immovable as the mountain.
John Coates, vice president of the IOC, mentioned that human rights situation in China is” not in the remit of the IOC" at the National Press Club in Australia's capital, Canberra, on October 13rd Wednesday.
IOC must be an organ to realize the world peace by being beyond politics, religions, races and any other discriminations. If so, it does not seem to be natural that Olympic Games (OG) will be held in the country which is criticized as blatant violation of basic human rights.
But on the other hand, there might be not easy logic on this issue behind.
To realize the world peace, there is no way but utilizing sport unifying people beyond every hurdle. This philosophy is the origin of Olympism. For that purpose, the IOC has been keeping its position as non-governmental and non-profitable organization.
United Nations should be also an organ for the realization of world peace originally. However, substantially the UN must be place to coordinate profits of each member country.
It is the structural limits.
The original structure of the IOC should be only to realize peace in the world. IOC is constituted by private members who are dispatched to each country/region as Olympic Ambassador. Recently successive Secretary Generals of the UN noticed this fact and aggressively take part in the Olympic Truce and take every opportunity to deliver the messages stressing how important sport is for human being.
This tendency means that the UN would respect for the very unique structural meritocracy of the IOC, although many people think that the IOC would try to relay on the UN power. It is very important that the IOC must be beyond political power, if the IOC is the IOC itself and Olympics is Olympics itself. Coates's claim included such kind of intension.
Successive Presidents of the IOC has been keeping this stance with politics. The 3rd IOC President Henri de Bayer-Latour was the host of 1936 Berlin OG when the head of states of Germany was Fuhrer Hitler. Although the arguments were very severe within the IOC about the OG under the discrimination against Jews, Latour never gave up holding of OG.
There is no reason for Hitler to be interested in the OG, since he had Aryan nationalism and OG came from Hellenism originally. However, enthusiasm of Karl Diem for Olympic philosophy brought 1936 OG to Berlin. He had devoted himself to organize 1916 Berlin OG with sincere academic study of antient OG in Greece but in vain because of World War I.
His ideal OG which could not be realized in 1916 was implemented in 1936. It is irony that its OG was called as Olympics of Hitler.
But Latour did not compromise with Hitler relating to Olympism. While opening announcement of the OG by Hitler was according to the Olympic Charter, there is no room for the political propaganda. During the Games, any demonstrations and appeals for the anti-Jews was not permitted by the IOC.
Hitler learnt the Olympics on the occasion of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany 1936.
When Latour found the signboard saying "Jews Not Permitted for Entry", he asked Hitler to take it. But Hitler said that this was the matter of German in Germany. But Latour claimed that Olympic sites must be places ruled by Olympics during the OG. He stressed that Olympics would leave there if Hitler could not impound such signboards showing discrimination. Finally, Hitler could not help but follow this claim.
If the IOC gave up the OG at place where Nazism controlled, IOC might be able to hold its fame and dignity. But if it did so, on the contrary, Olympism disappeared silently. Olympics must be held everywhere every four years and supervise such place by the rules of Olympism.
It is way to pass to peace for the future.
Berlin OG is sometimes expressed as Hitler's OG critically but actually it formed the modern OG model which includes message for the peace. Touch Relay is very symbolic one. Actually, Jesse Owens, USA showed best performances in the athletics and his superiority enthused German by its competitiveness. Sport surpasses Nazism.
Chinese Government has been criticized by western side about genocide in the Uighur Muslims in northwest China's Xinjiang region.
If the IOC synchronizes this criticism and withdraws the organization of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, it seems to the world that it is legitimate sanctions to Chinese Government but as a result a one-party dictatorship of China is not renovated.
On the contrary even if Hitler Olympics turned to Owens Olympics. World War II occurred. Sport had been prudent to politics.
Coates said the IOC was “not a world government”
“We have no way of going into a country and telling them what to do.” said Coates.
Yes, he is right as far as Olympics stay within sport circle, but I think he should say as following;
"We will organize the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in order to create world peace through sport. We believe in contribution to be made by host city to Olympism. Accordingly host country to guarantee it must respect for Olympism."
I expect from the bottom of my heart that appearance of Olympian to move heart of Xi Jinping at upcoming Beijing Olympics.
IOC just encounter the time to take a serious action to make peaceful world.
Mountain must be moved if Olympism be true.
October 26, 2021