Schwarzenberg warns Beijing Olympics could be repeat of 1936 Nazi Games
As the Olympic torch continues its way across the world, surrounded by a coterie of track-suited Chinese security guards, many are calling for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Games in Beijing in the light of human rights abuses in Tibet. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has become the latest Czech politician to add his voice to those calls.
“All European nations should have learnt enough of a lesson from 1936, when Hitler used the Olympic Games to his favour. He had an excellent propaganda filmmaker in Leni Riefenstahl, and that film about the Olympics was superb, but such wanton abuse of the Olympic ideals for propaganda purposes – this should never happen again.”
High-level Czech participation in the Olympic opening ceremony is looking increasingly unlikely. President Vaclav Klaus has already ruled out his presence because of a scheduled hip operation. That leaves prime minister Mirek Topolanek, who says the matter will be decided by the cabinet. The following is taken from a statement released by the prime minister’s press office.
The government says there’s no date yet on when that decision will be taken. But judging by statements made so far to the media, the majority of ministers are against the prime minister representing the Czech Republic at the opening ceremony.
Next in line, logically, would be the Education and Sports Minister. But minister Ondřej Liška is an outspoken critic of Chinese policy in Tibet. He’s also a deputy leader of the Green Party, which hung the Tibetan flag outside the Czech parliament this year to the fury of the Chinese Embassy. Mr Liška has already made it quite clear he is not going to Beijing.