Olympics: How To Lose Friends and Alienate People

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 4/11/2008 02:18:00 AM
Dale Carnegie's classic book "How To Win Friends and Influence People" appears to be a must read for the Communist Party of China given the ham-fisted way it has handled the run-up the Olympics. The book has some ideas which may help the Party as it confronts protesters at every step of the Olympic torch relay, deploys a goon squad to protect the Olympic torch, and hurls endless diatribes at the Dalai Lama. From the Amazon blurb, these include the "ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people." Also, it is important to "talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person." Further dousing the Olympic spirit, though, China has decided to bite the hand that feeds in criticizing the International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge's readily observable claim that the torch relay has put the Games into "crisis."

In this latest volley, the Chinese leadership is using its customary catch-all term to put down Rogge by calling the IOC's statements "political." It's always the fault of politics, eh? From Agence France-Presse comes this latest tale of China making potshots at the IOC head:

China on Thursday urged the International Olympic Committee to keep "irrelevant political factors" away from the Beijing Games, after IOC president Jacques Rogge called on it to improve human rights. "I believe IOC officials support the Beijing Olympics and adherence to the Olympic charter of not bringing in any irrelevant political factors," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters. "I hope IOC officials continue to adhere to principles of the Olympic charter."

Jiang was responding to comments by Rogge earlier in the day here in which he urged China to respect its commitment to improve human rights ahead of the Beijing Games. Rogge emphasised that Chinese officials had promised when they made their bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics that being awarded the Games would "advance the social agenda of China, including human rights. This is what I would call a moral engagement rather than a juridical (legal) one," he told a press conference. We definitely ask China to respect this moral engagement." In a separate address, Rogge also said a week of protests targeting the Olympic torch relay by groups critical of China's human rights record had thrown the Beijing Games into "crisis".

Rogge told heads of 205 National Olympic Committees at the end of their three-day general assembly here to return to their own countries to reassure athletes that the Beijing Games would be a success. "Tell them that whatever they have seen and heard, the Games will be very well-organised," he said. "Tell them that we will rebound from this current crisis." Jiang gave a non-committal response to Rogge's crisis comment. "Maybe he said some remarks that were... exaggerated or distorted by certain people," she said.