Darfur Yes, Cheek No
The 2008 Summer Olympics – also called the 2008 Genocide Games – will start on Friday August 8th, but they’ll start without Olympic gold medalist Joey Cheek. China has revoked the athlete’s visa.
Joey Cheek is co-founder of Team Darfur, a group of 70 athletes who are striving to raise global awareness of the human-rights violations taking part in the Darfur region of Sudan.
China’s military, economic and diplomatic ties to Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir’s regime have apparently made it undesirable – for the Evil Old Men in Beijing at least – for Cheek to enter China during the Games.
I am saddened not to be able to attend the Games. The Olympic Games represent something powerful: that people can come together from around the world and do things that no one thought were possible. However, the denial of my visa is a part of a systemic effort by the Chinese government to coerce and threaten athletes who are speaking out on behalf of the innocent people of Darfur.
— Joey Cheek
China has also revoked Cheek’s partner and Team Darfur’s co-founder, former UCLA water polo player Brad Greiner’s visa as well. Both activists were told that they had no recourse in the matter and that China did not owe them any explanation as to why they had been banned from the country.
This seems like another typically stupid and childish move by the Chinese. It’s not like any new damning evidence would be brought forth by Cheek or Greiner. The whole world is quite aware that China has consistently violated the 2005 UN Arms Embargo against Sudan by providing the weaponry that al-Bashir needs to complete his ethnic cleansing of Darfur. The whole world is also quite aware that Sudan pays for those arms with oil that China needs to fuel its growing industrial sector.
I guess the Chinese are just tired of hearing about about their collusion with other genocidal states and their utter inability to conduct themselves with anything remotely resembling human decency.
Tags: 2008 Olympics | Beijing | China | Crime | Darfur | Human Rights | Sudan