Flat White

Let’s have a global sports boycott of China

11 August 2021

11:30 AM

11 August 2021

11:30 AM

According to the latest score sheet, the People’s Republic of China won 38 gold medals at this year’s Olympic Games, one less than the USA which also won overall with 113 medals. That is a grab-bag of success but did it deserve it? How many individuals were 

It is only twenty years ago, that so many Chinese athletes were testing positive to drugs that it seemed doubtful if there were any Chinese athletes who weren’t taking performance-enhancing drugs. The New York Times in 2000 reported that 30 Chinese swimmers were caught using drugs in the previous decade and a former doctor with the Chinese Olympic team told German media that during the 1980s and 1990s, tens of thousands of  Chinese athletes took performance-enhancing drugs. 

While the Chinese communist government at the time denied that its policy was to cheat, the fact that no Chinese sportsmen have been disqualified from the 2021 Olympics for drug use, does not evidence any change to the win at all costs policy of communist governments. Winning serves two purposes: first, it satisfies a nationalist desire in the public and thereby moderates anti-government sentiment; and second, it sustains the international reputation of communism as a regime with a claim to universal governance. 

It is difficult if not impossible to believe that the CCP has embraced honesty and fair play on the sporting field when the evidence abounds of its dissembling, denials and outright lies about the source of the Covid virus in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And yes, it is true, that it now appears that the Chinese military scientists at WIV were assisted by American scientists, particularly Drs Fauci and Daszac and American money, but the American involvement was not government policy and was hidden from official oversight. 

But that is only the most recent evidence of the CCP’s dishonesty. Such dishonest practices are an important part of the CCP’s commercial enterprises: whether it was the forced transfer of technology, the stealth of corporate patents, the stealth of both corporate and academic research or the financial and legal threats against western corporations located in China for any perceived slights by the west. 


And we shouldn’t forget the illegal claim to and militarization of the Spratley and other islands in the South China Sea. The previous American President, Donald Trump, saw the danger of an industrialised and belligerent China and had taken steps to bring its excesses under control, even while the son of the current President was using Chinese money to purchase American shares while paying his father 10 per cent of his profits.

While the US and Australian corporate attraction to the Chinese market is understandable, it should never be forgotten that the economic theory of communism claims to have universal application, to all people at all times, and the dynastic ambition of the CCP is universal.  Perhaps corporate boards believe that they will be permitted to continue their businesses even under a CCP government. After all, a flight to the Greek Islands is only a private plane trip away — as Hollywood celebrities like to show.

Is there a solution? Well yes, there is. Trump had the correct approach. He began by limiting Chinese economic expansion. Denied wealth, the CCP’s ambition would be restrained. 

But we are discussing sport and its international appeal so we must first check the IOC’s ambition that permits China to participate in the Olympic Games while its government offends all the political principles that we hold dear. Does the IOC actually believe that by giving China an international platform on which to demonstrate that cheating brings success, that it is bringing nations closer together? 

Perhaps we have found the only issue that might unite the left and right. It was the left’s opposition to South African apartheid that made the boycott of its sporting bodies possible and thereby changed that regime and freed Nelson Mandella to take his rightful place as South Africa’s President. 

Of course, CCP dishonesty, obfuscation and murder by virus whether covid, bird, swine or SARS, are not as important as apartheid, so the left’s assistance to implement a sporting boycott cannot be taken for granted. Still, their rejection of all things sporty as bourgeois might be enough to stimulate their moral outrage and in that frame of mind when united with middle Australia, a peaceful boycott would be a distinct possibility.

Then we would only need the political resolve of the IOC and world sporting bodies to exclude CCP participation in all international sporting events. I don’t think I’m being overly optimistic to predict that results both positive and negative would occur quickly. 

Dr David Long is a retired solicitor and economist.

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