A few weeks ago, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) launched a petition addressed to Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Through this petition, the signatories ask the IOC to ensure the protection of all those who participate in and attend the Beijing Winter Olympics. By acting in this way, ITUC commits two errors and one could even say two faults – writes Roland Delcourt
The first, to follow in the footsteps of those who blindly follow the United States, by politicizing sport in order to satisfy the declared desire of the Biden administration, namely, to obtain a boycott of the Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing from February 4 to February 20, 2022.
The second, is a radical turn from its fundamental purpose, according to its statutes, even though ITUC seems quite non-effective to acting in any relevant way, especially in the United States, is to promote and defend the rights and interests of workers through international cooperation between trade unions.
In the petition addressed to the IOC President, ITUC launches an attack on the Chinese government, accusing the Chinese Communist Party of little or no respect for international laws and standards.
We would like ITUC to develop a bit of this diatribe based on a partial and personal judgment more than on proven facts.
To imagine that athletes, support workers, Olympics staff and others are at any risk during the Beijing Olympics is the worst phantasmagorical vision.
According to ITUC, the human and labour rights situation in China has been even more limited since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. elsewhere for many, the same as the slayers of China today, have straddled their battle horse in order to defend the Dalai Lama. To achieve their goal, they smeared the Olympic flame, vilified the Chinese authorities, in the name of safeguarding Tibetan culture.
These rear-guard fights went up in smoke when the CIA declassified its archives concerning Tibet and the Dalai Lama and in an intangible way, the role played by the latter during the troubles in Tibetbecame known. Meanwhile, with the success of the Chinese Communist Party’s policy in Tibet, favourable developments in living standards, dramatic increase in life expectancy, the creation of a system of education (both in Tibetan and Mandarin), followed by an increase in the population, it is said that today, it is necessary to be indoctrinated to the highest degree to have the slightest ounce of objectivity or to be a fool to dare to speak of Tibet in order to denigrate China.
Moreover, those who want to cause harm to China are not mistaken and the attacks against China take on another face and other targets are targeted.
Basically, ITUC has five criticisms to support its point. Reproaches that we can easily brush aside.
Repression and imprisonment in Hong Kong:
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary said:
“You just have to see what is happening in Hong Kong. In the eyes of the world, the Chinese authorities have cracked down on any person or community that tries to exercise their most basic rights and freedoms.”
The presentation of the facts, with slightly different words, is that made by Donald Trump, then President of the United States.
Reality is however quite different, these people who sowed disorder and panic in Hong Kong, aimed to undermine the principle of “one country, two systems”. Their ultimate goal being to bring about a “colour revolution” under foreign instigation.
Let us add that on this occasion, the Hong Kong police showed coolness and could serve as a paradigm for the American police which every day shows us repression and ruthlessness with a category of the American population. Just look at their high misconduct count.
Intimidation of LGBT+ community:
An utterly ridiculous accusation, I personally have several homosexual friends, and none have ever complained of problems with Chinese authorities. Pressure is like in any other country more often coming from family circles.
I also had the opportunity to meet a transgender lady who had surgery in Beijing. During a trip, she told me that she had never encountered a problem in China, except once in Xinjiang with Chinese Muslims.
Violations of fundamental rights at work, in supply chains and in society:
The fundamental rights of workers in China are guaranteed by the constitution.
Since the reform started in 1978, China continues to promote a legislative evolution in labour law in order to better protect employees and employers. In 2019, Labour Arbitration Committees handled a record 2,381,000 cases, the highest number since the Labour Disputes Mediation and Arbitration Act came into force in 2008. Trade union and all the organisations placed under its supervision represent the interests of workers and guarantee their legitimate rights. The most direct impact for companies is that the equivalent of 2% of the total amount of wage compensation must be paid back to trade unions.
Repression and exploitation of ethnic minorities:
Faced with this accusation, it is words against words except that objective facts prove the contrary. Favourable developments in the standard of living, life expectancy, education (both in local languages and in Mandarin), followed by an increase in population are all proof that the ethnic minorities, numbering 55 are not subjected to any repression and are not subject to any exploitation.
Silence and obstruction regarding the spread of COVID-19:
What to think of a trade union organisation, which ridiculously repeats the lies and fake news spread by Donald Trump and his sidekick Pompeo, when we know that before it was even identified, the WHO was immediately notified of the presence of a new virus in China. In addition, WHO experts were invited several times and visited Wuhan in the first month and several times thereafter.
This wish of a petition was not met with great success, leaders and senior officials from many countries expressed their position that the Olympics should not be politicised.
Proof is in the pudding, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Lithuania, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia and Japan have openly declared a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing’s Winter Olympics, a total of 9 out of 90 participating countries. Perhaps the saddest is Belgium which under the implacable fantasy of Samuel Cogolati, a member of the Belgian House of Representatives and a Green MP, was duped into accepting this farce of a diplomatic boycott.
The CSI through its General Secretary Sharan Burrow lobbied major sponsors JO, GE, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, P&G, Toyota, Airbnb, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Allianz, Dow and Visa, in order to suspend their cooperation with the organisation of the Beijing 2022 Olympics. All in vain, as no company retracted but rather certified their full adherence to the Winter Olympics.
Let us not forget that all participating countries but for Australia, the United States, India and Japan, agreed and signed the Olympic Truce.
“Diplomatic boycotts” of the Olympic games are not only counterproductive but also hypocritical, the United States itself does not really believe in them. If they were objectively convinced of their accusations, they would have decided to make a total boycott of the Games by denying their athletes the right to participate.
The guest author is Belgian journalist Roland Delacore
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