The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Verbal Punch Up at Press Conference

Wei Wang, the secretary general of the Beijing organising committee, expressed his displeasure about the behaviour of some members of the international media for coming to China "to peek, to be critical, to dig into the small details and find fault" in the country's human rights record".

He vented his spleen during the IOC-Bocog press conference, as journalists pressed him to reveal how many Chinese citizens had been granted permission to use the three Protest Parks set up for the Games. Wei Wang claimed twice that he had not been given figures from the Office of Public Security.

"After 30 years of reform China has developed greatly. People enjoy more freedom. People are living a good life. Everyone is happy. That's a fact. Of course there are exceptions, like in any other country. But they need to take the legal process and procedures to resolve any issues. We cannot allow this country to be in chaos.

There are a few people who have come here to peek, to be critical, to dig into the small details and find fault. This does not mean that we are not fulfilling our promises [over human rights to the IOC]. The whole country can see how can China has developed; how China has genuinely welcomed the world to enjoy everything with us

The IOC was given a rough ride by Alex Thomson, a Channel 4 journalist, who asked as to whether it was "in any way embarrassed" by the Chinese government "lying through its teeth" about keeping its promises to improve human rights and press freedom.

The IOC communication's director, Giselle Davies, did not answer the question but instead said:

"We have to note that there have been enormous steps forward in a number of areas".

Thomson kept pressing and asked how the IOC felt about the "manifest failure of the Chinese government to keep their promises." Davies refused to answer, saying that the IOC was "very proud about how these Games are progressing".

Thomson kept up the attack:

"I'm not asking about how well the Games are being run, or how wonderful the Games are.

Are you embarrassed by China?

I don't think anyone thinks you have answered the question

Davies said:

"The Olympic Games is largely about the athletes and they have given us extremely strong feedback about how things are going."

Thomson was by now fending off two volunteers, who were trying to take the microphone from him. However, he soldiered on:

"We're not getting anywhere are we?

Are the IOC embarrassed about the Chinese governments record on human rights? One more chance

Davies ignored the question and said:

"We have to note the enormous steps in the wider area.

The world is watching and the IOC is appraising

Olympic Medals Won

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