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Old 08-07-2008, 03:40 AM
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English, Welsh and Scottish flags banned at Olympics.

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British athletes and fans will be banned from waving the flags of the home nations at the Beijing Olympics.

Chinese authorities say they will confiscate the national flags of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as only the unified United Kingdom team are competing at the games.

Athletes wishing to celebrate with the crosses of St George and St Andrew, or the Welsh dragon, could even be disqualified from competing under the ruling.

It means only the Union Flag can be taken inside stadiums and sporting events during the two-week festival.


The tough regulations are believed to be aimed at stopping supporters of an independent Tibet protesting at the games.

But Scottish fans supporting Andy Murray in the tennis and Welsh supporters of cyclist Geraint Thomas are also among those who will be affected by the rules.

Mr Thomas said: 'It would be great to do a lap of honour draped in the Welsh flag if I win a gold medal, and I'm very disappointed if this rule means that would not be possible.'

The Chinese authorities have used Rule 51 of the Olympic Charter to enforce the ban. The ruling states: 'No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.'

The rule has been interpreted to mean that the waving of flags of non-competing nations is a 'political demonstration' and the Olympic Charter gives the Chinese the power to disqualify rule-breakers.

It states: 'Any violation … may result in the disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned.'



The Chinese have reinforced their tough stance by adding on the official website for the games: 'To avoid delays at security and to maintain an orderly flow, please DO NOT bring the following articles to any venue... flags of non-members of the Olympics or Paralympics; flags or banners larger than 2m x 1m; flagpoles; any banners, slogans, fliers, brochures or samples.'

MPs say the decision is another example of China's abuse of human rights and have urged Gordon Brown to demand they scrap the ruling.

Shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson said: 'The right to wave your national flag has always been a central part of the spectator experience at every Olympic games.

'To see it banned now for internal political reasons contradicts an essential part of the Olympic experience and freedom of expression.'

Amnesty International spokeswoman Cathy Owens said: 'With so many domestic activists silenced, I'm not surprised that the Chinese authorities want to control what can be seen at Olympic venues.

'We don't want politics to overshadow the games, but the Chinese Government promised to improve human rights when they were awarded the Olympics, and this promise has been broken.'

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: 'We have only heard these reports late in the evening in Beijing and will be asking the games organisers for clarification as soon as possible tomorrow.'

Australian 400 meter runner Cathy Freeman courted controversy by wearing an Australian and Aboriginal flag after winning gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
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I think this is likely to be a big blow to the British athletes who often like to fly the flag off their home country, Wales, England or Scotland alongside the union jack at the athletics. I remember at i think it was Sydney, when Britain won a pole place for the relay and one wore a welsh flag, one a scottish, one an english and one wore the union jack to represent all three nations and then the union and it looked really beautiful. It's such a shame. I really dont see the harm in it, they've been doing it for years and it's never been a problem before.
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:13 AM
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Yeah, I have a sneaky feeling this has a lot more to do with trying to curtail any and all support for Taiwan than it is about anything else.

Because, while I'm not even going to attempt to pretend that I understand the complex nationalistic feelings of the Welsh, Scot and English people beyond their British amalgammation, it's clear that a parallel can be drawn with the sovereignist movement in Taiwan. Only, the Welsh, Scots and English, being part of a democracy -- as opposed to whatever form of government migh best describe China -- have actual rights with regards to expressing their nationalistic fervour without fear of emprisonment. The Taiwanese do not.

Lest we forget, China has enormous censorship with regards to the information that comes into the country. Open displays of nationalistic fervour, whether from Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland or wherever else countries are made up of different groups with independent identities, would undoubtedly be a great "shock" (for a lack of a better word) to the locals. I suspect the Chinese government wouldn't want them to get any bright ideas as to what can be done.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:09 AM
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Yeah i suppose that makes sense but I just cant understand the Olympic committee allowing this. There making mistake after huge mistake with this Chinese olympics.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:31 AM
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I can see banning a flag that would cause a fight, like if someone showed up with a confederate flag or a nazi flag for example. But I think they have taken this way too far. I wasnt happy when I found out the olypics were gonna be in china and they deffinately have not changed my mind. The only thing they have going for them is the buildings look so cool, but they are right next to the world's largest polluter.
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:39 PM
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I just watched the opening ceremonies and Taiwan was walking as "Chinese Taipei" and the flag they were waving was NOT thet Taiwanese flag...

Hong Kong also had a separate delegation, but with their own flag... I think.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:48 AM
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This is just bigotry. Just as China fails to recognize Tibet it is refusing to recognize Scotland and Wales. This is an insult to Europe's Celtic minority. It's disgusting. And it's just more of China clamping down on everything. This Olympics is a travesty. Celebrate tyranny why not. I'm disgusted that so many of the world's political leaders have gone to take part in this farce.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:32 AM
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I'm disgusted that so many of the world's political leaders have gone to take part in this farce.
I completly agree with this. Whilst i was undecided on the atheletes boycotting, i was certainly behind the world leaders not turning up the opening ceromony. To see Bush and Sarkozy to name a few there was ridiculous. I didn't see Brown there, i believe princess Margeret was the British representative sent. However, i'm not sure if that was a purposeful boycott or not. People can argue that politics have no place in sport, but the presence of the worlds top politicians certainly brought a political agenda to the opening ceromony. I believe it reflects badly on the politics of those nations for their leaders to go and show support. I'm angered by the presidents presence on behalf of my country, but to be honest, i've come to expect no less from him.
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Old 08-11-2008, 05:56 AM
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I completely agree with all of this, I just think that boycotting now achieves nothing. They're already got the Olympics and every Olympic dollar that goes with that.

China should have never, ever gotten the Olympics. I get why they did it. They wanted an in to the Chinese market and they probably hoped that it would help the country strive to become more democratic. The latter being the most naive idea I've ever heard of.

But, the second the Olympics were given to China, boycotting would have only affected the athletes who work their whole lives towards these events.

As to Bush, Sarkozy and whatever Canadian representative was there... well, we have trade relations with China. Whether they show up or not for a sporting event won't change the fact that we already spend a lot of money in China.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:53 PM
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I am not really shocked that China has ruled this, come on this is not the craziest thing that they have done. But the IOC has not said anything, That raises my eyebrow. The UK is a united kingdom, with nations. Everyone knows this and respects that. Sure some people in these areas want out, but there is not a massive call to leave the country. I guess this ruling would have to be the same for every country. If Canada wins a metal, I hope, I wonder if say an athlete from say Quebec wants to have both flags, or one, would they be allowed. Because Quebec has had provincial votes for seperation.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:18 AM
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Oh, completely agree.

But, and maybe I'm wrong on this, but isn't China just spinning a pre-existing IOC by-law so as to prevent the display of local flags? What I mean is, isn't there an IOC by-law that says something to the effect that displays of racism, political statements (etc.) will no be allowed? And then China used "political statements" as a jumping off point to ban all local flags?

I may be wrong, but I thought that was how they had managed that.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:15 AM
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Welsh, Scottish and English flags aren't really local flags. There often regarded as countries on there own, especially in Europe. I admit that i dont know as much as obviously people from those nations would, but i've lived here nearly two years now and it's enough for me to gather the amount of pride people from each individual sector feel for them. On forms, it actually includes under nationality the option of Wales, Scotland, England or UK.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:25 PM
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But are those athletes that want to fly the flag from their home really expressing a politcal or a cultural point of view? That is the question.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:47 PM
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Welsh, Scottish and English flags aren't really local flags.
I didn't mean to reduce Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland as localities either. I just couldn't come up with a better word at the time that would encompass the different countries there with situations a bit more muddled like us here in Quebec or the different ethno-linguistic regions in Belgium and Switzerland.

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But are those athletes that want to fly the flag from their home really expressing a politcal or a cultural point of view? That is the question.
I'm sure I shouldn't express a general opinion about situations that may not only differ from place to place, but also from athlete to athlete, but I do think it has to be a cultural thing at the very least.

Waving the Quebec or the Tibet flag, that'd definitely be political (local politicians are up in arms over here about Quebec athletes being unable to display their sovereignist pride, as though athletes don't understand where their funding is coming from...).

But whatever flag one would choose to wave, at the very least, it would be an expression of their feelings of cultural belonging, no?
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Old 08-14-2008, 02:30 AM
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As a welsh person myself, i would say cultural and pride. I certainly wouldn't regard it from the british viewpoint as political. I obviously cant speak for other nationalities though. If i had been blessed with talent enough to go to the olympics and win a medal, i know for a fact i'd want to fly the welsh dragon along with the union jack.
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Old 08-14-2008, 04:17 AM
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^ITA. If I was in the Olympics I would definitely want to fly the English flag as well as the British one. I wonder when the Olympics are in London if they will allow it?
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