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Politicization of Olympics hurts athletes: political advisor
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A Chinese political advisor voiced objections against linking the Olympic Games with politics on Sunday, saying that innocent athletes would fall victim if the sports event were politicized.

"The Olympics shouldn't be used to solve problems that have nothing to do with the event. On the contrary, it is supposed to shun such problems (as politics)," said Yang Lan, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body.

What the Olympics should care about is to let the athletes play well and fully enjoy the fun of sports, and let people of different nations have peaceful and friendly exchanges, said Yang, who is here to attend the annual session of the CPPCC National Committee slated to open on Monday.

"If the Olympics were politicized, the athletes would be hurt most," said Yang, one of the ambassadors for the Beijing 2008 Olympic bid, citing that athletes of some countries couldn't attend the Olympic Games due to the Cold War in the 1980s. "Those athletes were innocent."

Yang, a 40-year-old well-known TV anchorwoman, recalled that former president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Juan Antonio Samaranch, had told her during an interview that he himself was also resolutely opposed to politicizing the Olympics.

The Olympic Charter, drawn up by the IOC, outlaws political acts. "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas," reads its 51st section.

As the Beijing Olympics is approaching, some individuals and groups, going against the principles of the Olympic Charter, are attempting to link the sports event with various political issues, be it domestic or international, imposing political pressure on China.

More than 60 state or government heads across the world, however, have meanwhile made their plans to appear at the Beijing Olympics, a sign that shows the mainstream of the international community does not stand for politicization of the Games.

In an interview with the BBC in mid-February, U.S. President George W. Bush said he had no reason to use the Olympics as a way to highlight political issues because he did it "all the time" with the Chinese leadership. "I'm going to the Olympics. I view the Olympics as a sporting event," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2008)

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