The Olympics movement may never recover from their toadying to the oppressive Chinese government, thanks to Beijing’s predictably authoritarian response to reporters covering protests. Both ITV and the Guardian have footage of Chinese police manhandling Western reporters covering a peaceful Free Tibet protest. USA Today’s On Deadline reports on the weak response from the IOC:
John Ray, a correspondent for ITN, says he was “bundled away, pushed to the floor and pinned down” before being “manhandled into the back of a police van.” …
“They are claiming I tried to unfurl a Tibet banner. I did not at any time try to unfurl a banner and I have never possessed any banner or protest material. I was there simply to report on a demonstration, not to take part in it in any way,” he tells The Guardian.
When pressed for comment, the IOC — which claimed that the international press would have freedom to report on all events in China — did not even bother to commit to action over the incidents:
“The IOC does disapprove of any attempts to hinder a journalist who is going about or doing his job seemingly within the rules and regulation,” IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies tells reporters, according to AFP. “We do not want to see it happening again.”
Well, don’t break a sweat or anything, IOC. Glad you disapprove of arresting journalists for doing their jobs. Any plans to take action to go with that disapproval? Apparently not. The IOC finds themselves in the position of defending Beijing in order to defend their decision to hold the games in China. A few broken heads won’t move them to admit they made a terrible blunder.