Sport og politik har altid været blandet sammen; at påstå det modsatte er et privilegeret og mageligt standpunkt.
Denmark should follow the United States and make a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in China
Sports and politics have always been mixed together; to claim the opposite is a privileged and leisurely position.
You are overreacting – that´s never going to happen!
That was the reaction I was met with in Denmark a few years ago. I was on vacation in Denmark and the discussion I was engaging in took place in a Copenhagen kitchen – far from China and the USA. I claimed that China was dangerous and would soon gain economic power to the extend that the world would not dare to go against the country when it violated human rights.
And here we are. The United States and other nations has announced a diplomatic boycot of the country – they will cheer for their athletes but will do so from home. That decission is the right thing to do. I would prefer that the Olympics were not held in China at all, that the whole world would boycott the event. But that is not going to happen, so the next best thing – a diplomatic boycott – is an important strategic signal. For China is not part of the club when it comes to human rights, and Western democracies must dare to say thta out loud.
The United States is signaling that China’s views on human rights and the treatment of its own citizens are unacceptable. America refuses to send an official diplomatic signal that would legitimize the regime. It may result in consequences in relation to trade agreements, environmental negotiations, etc., but it is a question of integrity – and Denmark and Europe aught to stand up for the human rights they claim to fight for.
The sports world is full of corruption. Again and again we learn about shady deals, where huge sums of money change hands, and holding sporting events are dependent on what sums a country is willing to slip into the pockets of a decision maker. That is unfortunately the way things are, and if we are being honest, we know it – even if we would rather close our eyes and comfortably sit back on the sofa in front of the TV screen while watching the athletes.
To claim that sports and politics have nothing to do with each other is a privileged stand point. And what’s more, it’s so unsympathetic and distasteful that I have a hard time finding a vocabulary suitable for the printed press to describe it.
Because if you claim that you “just” want to sit and scroll in front of the screen and enjoy watching your sport without supporting a diplomatic boycott, you are de facto supporting a regime that has millions of human lives on its conscience. People who, for one reason or another, do not agree with the regime – and pay a hefty price for their desire to think, speak, and believe freely. If you do not take a stand, you are essentially contributing and supporting and thus partly responsible.
But if it does not worry you or touch a string in your human right spoiled universe far from a world where athletes disappear and people are sent to labor camps if they do not show the right loyalty to the Chinese government, then just take a bite out of your pizza slice and down it with a sip of microbrew beer while cheering on your Danish homeland.
We have a responsibility, and we can not just turn our backs because it is convenient for us. Denmark has not yet sided with democracy and human rights in the issue of the Olympics in China. Who knows, maybe the country will one of the next few days – but I wonder if the politicians would have given it a second thought at all, had it not been for the United States stand?
Until a decision is made, Denmark signals no hesitation in sending princes, politicians and diplomats to a dictatorship without respect for human life and the rights of the individual.