Dutch lawmaker calls for boycott of Olympic opening ceremony
Joel Voordewind, a Dutch lawmaker and a member of the Christian Union party, urges governments to boycott the Olympic opening ceremony – a celebration he claims will only be used to glorify an unworthy host. Voordewind also suggested designing a forum in which guests could discuss human rights during the games.
2/19/08 China (IHT) Joel Voordewind, a member of the Christian Union party, would like governments around the world to support the boycott and lean on sponsors to use their financial clout with Beijing.
“It is possible to take part in the games but skip the party beforehand,” he said Tuesday. “Such a ceremony is only intended to glorify the host, China.”
Voordewind also suggested setting up a venue in Beijing during the games where visitors can discuss human rights. He expected opposition from organizers, but said, “If the Chinese are against the plan, that means they are against human rights.”
“The Americans waited a long time until they boycotted the (Moscow) games,” he said, referring the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics to protest Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.
The Beijing Olympic organizing committee has said it believes “excellent ceremonies will be presented to the world.” Linking sports and politics, it added, was “not in line with the Olympic spirit.”
Critics say China has for years mistreated Tibetans, jailed dissidents and journalists on questionable charges and should be doing more to push the government in Sudan where China is a major buyer of oil into bringing an end to violence in Darfur. More than 200,000 people have died in the Sudanese province in a conflict between rebels and militias backed by government forces.