Olympic Official Warns of Athlete Ban for Pro-Tibet ‘Propaganda’
Posted on Apr 10, 2008
Athletes participating in this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing could be expelled if they fly the Tibetan flag or express political opinions that constitute “propaganda” in official ceremonies and spaces, according to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, but questions abound as to the precise definition of that term.
His comments accompanied his admission that the Games were in “crisis” after pro-Tibet protests engulfed the Olympic torch relay.
Mr Rogge’s call for Beijing to abide by its promise to address human rights was given short shrift by Beijing, which bluntly told him to keep politics out of the Games.
The question of what will constitute propaganda during the Games in August and what will be considered opinion under IOC rules is one vexing many in the Olympic movement. The Olympic Charter bans any kind of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in any Olympic venue or area.
This includes the opening and closing ceremonies, the medal podiums and the Athletes’ Village.
AP photo / Noah Berger
Burgeoning crisis: IOC President Jacques Rogge acknowledged that the Tibet controversy looms large for this summer’s Games. Here, a protester shows support for Tibet in San Francisco on Wednesday.