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Press release 13 May: Letter to The Dutch NOC


25 may

 

Dear Journalist,

 

In the wake of your interview we have checked the position of the Dutch NOC. It’s remarkable that the Dutch Olympic Committee President Erica Terpstra makes some statements on the official OG2008 website. She presents herself as a friend of China and praises the development in the country. Terpstra studied the Chinese language and culture at university. Her dream then was to be a diplomat in the Far East........... Terpstra didn't become an ambassador to China, but her Chinese knowledge comes in handy when the Olympics go to China. "Wo shi nimen de peng you (I am your friend)," Terpstra said in Chinese.

 

......... Terpstra said it's a pity that there have been so much discussions in the West about human rights issues in China that the brilliance of the Games has been somewhat overshadowed.

 

.........Terpstra said that during the Olympic Games Dutch athletes are not allowed to make political statements, take part in political demonstrations or wear T shirts with political slogans.

 

......There should be no political actions whatsoever in the Olympic village or other venues," she said.

If any athlete is found breaching the rules, he or she will be immediately suspended for the remainder of the Games, she said.

 

These quotations stem from

http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/dynamics/headlines/n214290468.shtml

 

 

It is thought provoking that Erica Terpstra is stressing the limitations of the athletes’ free expression, in contrast to the IOC that has stated that the athletes do have the rights of free expression:

5.    The participants at the Olympic Games will have many opportunities to express themselves upon the occasion of the Games, whilst respecting the Olympic Charter, for instance by giving interviews including in Olympic Press or Broadcasting Centres or in mixed zones, statements and discussing with their fellow athletes, officials and others – to name but a few. The IOC relies on the common sense of all athletes and other participants in showing respect for the dignity of all fellow athletes, including those of the host country, and of all other spectators and attendees.

6.           The IOC requests the NOCs to contact their athletes with a view to explaining the above and to responding to their queries. Everyone concerned, including NOCs, NGOs and the media, should also respect the personal rights of each individual athlete, which include both the right to express themselves and the right not to comment on political issues.

(From GUIDELINES ON THE INTERPRETATION OF RULE 51.3 OF THE OLYMPIC CHARTER), see

http://www.thecolororange.net/uk/page167

 

 

It is remarkable that the Dutch committee is the only one that has found an occasion to comment on The Color Orange campaign, with the statement:

“We’ll have a look at it and find out how to react”, says spokesperson Annemiek van der Meer in the weekend.

 

“With orange Holland has a colour that is scarcely used by others. Read and blue are more common. It cannot be that we are unwillingly pressed to support a stance of others. As a sports organization we certainly do not react on anything happening in the world, but here we do have to undertake a critical look.”

 

Quoted from http://www.thecolororange.net/uk/page171

 

*******

 

I hope that you can make use of the above considerations. In fact, I find them interesting and thought provoking.

 

You’ll find a presentation of the projects I’m carrying out in addition to TheColorOrange campaign at

http://www.aidoh.dk

 

 

 

Best Orange wishes

Jens Galschiot, sculptor

 

 


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