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Friday, 13 July, 2001, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Beijing - a fitting Olympic host?

The International Olympic Committee have announced that Beijing will host the 2008 Olympic Games.

There has been much debate over whether China, with a poor human rights record, should stage the prestigious sporting event.

Is Beijing the best choice?


Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympic Games, beat off competition from Toronto, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka.

Having joined the Olympic movement in 1979, China has sealed a successful bid at the second time of asking - having been beaten by Sydney for the 2000 Games.

This time, Beijing was the front runner but controversy has stirred over China's human rights record, and whether the IOC are right to hand them the opportunity.

IOC members were encouraged to vote on a city's preparation and technical ability to host the event.

So is Beijing the best choice?

And should their ability to host the sporting showpiece override political considerations?


China has finally won the right to stage the Games and the country was overwhelmed in jubilation when the winner was announced. The Games will act as a catalyst to the improvements of human rights in China. What is more, it will provide many jobs and the economy will grow faster. By the year 2008, a more democratic and modern China will welcome the people from all over the world.
Han, China

Beijing winning the rights to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games will make China change its image. If China wants to be respected as an equal in the world scene, then it has to do an about face and cooperate with the rest of the world. Just as easily as they won these games, they can lose it as easily. If it worked for FIFA when it pulled the 1986 World Cup from Colombia and gave it to Mexico, then the IOC should do likewise if China doesn't meet the demands placed by the world populace.
Gabriel Moliterno, USA

As a Tibetan exile that was kicked out of my country nearly 50 years ago, I feel utterly devastated by this award. I cannot believe that the IOC can reward nepotism, brutality and savage occupation. The IOC has once again proved that human rights are only a side issue when it comes to a multi-billion dollar business venture. Will humanity ever come to our aid?
Dorje K., Dharmasala, India

If human rights are really an issue, why was Moscow awarded the Games in 1980? Do you really think that the former USSR had an excellent human rights record? I do not agree with many policies of the Chinese Government, but we should not deny the Chinese people their rights to host the Olympics.
Kent, USA

See you at the Baghdad Olympics in 2012!
  Nelson Coelho, Canada

Isn't it a joy to see that the same standards are applied worldwide to all repressive regimes? Except of course if they have 1.3 billion consumers to stuff corporate pockets. All guys like Milosevic have to do to garner the IOC's favour is encourage its people to procreate! See you at the Baghdad Olympics in 2012!
Nelson Coelho, Canada

That the brutal regime that is the Communist Party of China is rewarded with the Olympics is sick beyond belief. Persecuting the followers of Falun Gong, committing genocide in Tibet and continuing to suppress the Uygurs is obviously acceptable to the majority of the IOC and indeed supported. Once again respect, tolerance and promotion of common human decency has lost out to the dollar.
Patrick Smith, United Kingdom

With America having hosted the worst games in Olympic history perhaps the time has come for China to show the ever critical US just what it can do.
Mark Buckton, Japan

Keep politics out of sport. If we're going to look at countries' human rights records, how about Japan's treatment of ethnic Koreans, how or America's attitude towards capital punishment? It's ultimately a sporting event. Keep it that way!
David Gatenby, Germany

Don't penalize the masses just because of a government's policies
  Gaynor, New Zealand
Awarding the 2008 Olympic Games to China is disgraceful. Anyone who thinks that China will use the Games for anything but political propaganda is a few cards short of a full deck.
Alan Williams, Australia

I have family working in China. The ordinary Chinese people are wonderful. Most have a very poor quality of life. I think it will be very good for them to experience something like this, although most won't see the games because they don't have televisions! Don't penalize the masses just because of government's policies. China will go all out to impress the rest of the world and will turn on something really special!
Gaynor, New Zealand

I am sure that China will make an effort to host a fair and open Games. I know they will allow the Games tourists to travel throughout their country without special escorts. I am sure they will make it possible for their 1.3 billion citizens to share in the prosperity the Games will bring and I look forward to the Tibetan team entering the stadium with the flag of Tibet flying proudly in the breeze.
Mal Walker, Australia

If our political leaders still engage with China why should we be surprised at this decision? To use the games to try and make a point regarding human rights issues seems to me rather bizarre when we continue to politically interact with China. If we wish to do something positive about their appalling human rights record it must be on all fronts not just the sporting one.
Elaine Smith, UK

Let's just hope politics or human rights issues don't overshadow the athletes
  Larissa, UK/Canada

I hope that the Chinese authorities take on board the enormity of the Olympic Games and realise the true meaning of the Olympics. I fear that because of past human rights abuses, they will not take the responsibility seriously enough to change the attitudes of the highest ranking officials, therefore leading to boycotts by many of the competing nations.
G Mansfield, UK

Firstly, to Marc, Toronto has never hosted the Olympics. Montreal had them the summer of '76, and Calgary had the Winter Olympics in '88.

Secondly , I was rooting for Toronto to win. Although I'm not even close to being a sports fan, the Olympics are always something different, and I was really hoping to be able to experience them in my home town. I'm sure Beijing is a fine choice, and I'm sure the Games will be great. Let's just hope politics or human rights issues don't overshadow the athletes.
Larissa, UK/Canada

The whole idea of the Olympic Games is that it's a non-political sporting event that is trying to unite the people of the world through competitive sports. The Games should go to the Asian continent in 2008 - why should the entire continent be penalised for the political decisions of one country? North America and Canada have had their turn so it's time for another continent to host the games!
Donni Masters, Stratford, UK

It's interesting to see that some people focus on China's human rights while there's so much discrimination and racial violence in their own countries. I think they are just few narrow-minded, prejudiced people. I'm glad that the Olympic movement and spirit has finally reached to the world's most populated nation.
James King, United States

regardless of politics, it was time for this part of the world to have them
  Neil Smith, Scot in Canada

It's a bit of shame the reasons behind the decision were those not to pick the other cities rather than to pick Beijing. Paris lost out because Greece has it next time and other major European cities wouldn't be able to bid successfully in 2012 And Toronto lost out as voters didn't want to double up with a new Canadian IOC president and the Olympics in Canada.
Candy, UK

Well done to China. Regardless of politics, it was time for this part of the world to have them. We seem to like to use politics as an excuse to keep Olympics in the western world - and that's discriminatory and wrong.
Neil Smith, Scot in Canada

A country is about more than its government. A billion or so Chinese deserve to play a part in the international community. It is easy to forget that the victims of human rights abuse are Chinese too. Change comes from inclusion not separation - to write off a fifth of the world's population would be the greater crime. I think it is wonderful that Beijing will host the Olympics - perhaps we will all understand each other better.
Ben, UK

I am appalled to hear the news. If the Olympics stands for anything, it is human endeavour, and the record of the Chinese government in oppressing both its own citizens and the citizens of occupied Tibet and Sinjiang is disgusting. As usual, the ideals that the Olympic movement claims to stand for, have been set aside for base commercial reasons.
Richard Carter, UK

Awarding the right to host the Olympics in 2008 to Beijing is a momentous decision!
  Stefan de Greling, France

China has not learned what humanity is yet. I was hoping that Paris would get it. I didn't want that circus in my town. A permanent site should be erected in Athens, and the Games should be held there every four years. That would surely avoid this billion-dollar con job that we have to suffer on a recurring basis.
Garry Leak, Canada

There's no way China should have been awarded the Games. They have an appalling record on human rights and it wasn't that long ago that most of the Chinese swimmers and divers were being disqualified for taking banned substances. Toronto would have been a far better choice. The Games would have been held in a city with great facilities and with no political undertones. I can already see the 2008 games will be affected by boycotts.
Paul Jeffries, Canada

Awarding the right to host the Olympics in 2008 to Beijing is a momentous decision! It's about time we cease being patronising to that great nation, and this overture will help in bringing her back to her rightful place in the family of nations. True, China has amassed a deplorable human rights track record, but I think we have to make a special effort to recognise the earnestness with which the Chinese people want to show that they are a positive influence on the world stage. Let's give China a chance, because the alternative would merely confirm the underlying prejudice of a China misunderstood. And what a show our Chinese friends will put on for us!
Stefan de Greling, France

It is absolutely disgusting that China has been chosen to hold the Olympics in 2008. China is responsible for the most atrocious abuses of human rights, both in China and in Tibet. Allowing them to hold the Olympic Games, an occasion that is supposed to be about unity and respect, is completely legitimising their actions.
Jessie Stafford, UK

Just where are the highly impoverished 1.3 billion people going to be able to see the Games?
  Michael, USA

It is great news that Beijing will host the 2008 Games. China has changed at such tremendous pace that you will only believe it after you have seen it. I am confident China will be able to organise a successful game and improve its sociological and economical environment.
M.K. Chan, Hong Kong

That's right, let's pretend we have done more good by awarding the Chinese government the games. What a great PR event for them to exploit. Who really thinks in their heart of hearts that this will do anything to help human rights for all in China? The sort of people who suffer human rights abuses on a regular basis are not the people we will see at the 'show' but those on the fringes of Chinese society, some political activists, and some criminals, but all human beings.
Binx, UK

Just where are the highly impoverished 1.3 billion people going to be able to see the Games? On my recent visit to China, I didn't see many televisions in the Shanty town shacks of the provinces.
Michael, USA

If China responds by making real efforts to improve human rights, then the world will become a better place. However, if they don't, I think we will come to regret this decision. Let's hope some genuine good will come out of this, so that everyone can enjoy the 2008 Games without this issue marring them.
Alastair Stevens, UK

. Cheers to Beijing and congratulations on becoming the newest members of an elite club of Olympic cities.
  D Logue, United States

I'm very sad to see so many people already assuming that China will not host a great Olympics. Yes, they have human rights problems, but most countries that have hosted the Games have at one point in time or another. A fact that even the USA and Australia have had problems with minorities and received the Olympics is a testament to that. Europe and North America are not the only continents that participate and people must remember that the Olympics belong to all people, not simply Europeans and North Americans. The fact that the IOC sees China fit should be a sign that China is indeed a world player and must be included. I do wish Toronto luck in the future, it is a great city and it would surely host a great Games, maybe 2012 or 2016. Cheers to Beijing and congratulations on becoming the newest members of an elite club of Olympic cities.
D Logue, United States

It is time for China to show off what they do have to all over world. It is so exciting news for me living in Taiwan. I feel so happy to know this news today.
Lan Ming-Hsien, Taiwan

As the Olympic Games is a common cause for all human beings on this planet, China, consisting of one-fifth of the world's population, should have an opportunity to be a host country. This does not contradict the human right conventions, on the contrary, China's bidding itself indicates that their country should have the right or 'human right' to take part in international co-operations such as the Olympic Games.
David, China

Congratulations China! I am very pleased to see the games go to a nation that has never hosted them before. Very refreshing. About the human rights record; hopefully that will be history and China will improve as a result of this. I believe the Olympic movement is a positive influence on the human race, promoting peace, friendship and conflict through sport not war! Let's see the Games hosted in Africa next.
Saki, Canada

The decision is great - it is going to be the best Games eve
  Vivian, UK

What has human rights got to do with sport? Looks like a lot of people will be 'disgusted' by this decision due to sour grapes. I wonder if these people will ever be prepared to see China as it is today.

The decision is great - it is going to be the best Games ever. China has a lot to offer to the world, and it won't allow jealous people to spoil it.
Vivian, UK

As far as population goes, it's a great decision. 1.3 billion people will have a better chance to see it than ever.
Colin Tyrrell, Ireland

It's great news that the Olympics are going to China! They will do a very good job and, having been to Beijing, I am sure the people will welcome the world in 2008.
Chris Chow, UK

What a complete and utter disgrace. How a country with such a shocking record on human rights can even be considered is entirely beyond me. With Athens having been awarded the '04 Games it was somewhat foolish of France to even challenge. But a city such as Toronto would have been a credit to the Games.

I do accept that China need to have an Olympic Games to raise their international profile and in time they need to be forgiven for past wrong doings. But this is far too much, far too soon.
Nick, England

It's a big mistake that will come back to haunt the IOC
  Jackie Steele, Canada

Of course Beijing is the best choice. Paris and Toronto have both hosted the Olympics before. China should be given a chance to host the Games at least once. So what it has a bad human rights record? It's hosting a sports event, not asking the athletes to live in China.
Marc, UK

The IOC has just told the world it accepts and has no problem with the way China treats humans. I will not watch any of the Games as a result of their decision.
Lydia Szasz, United States

Naturally, living in Canada, I'm extremely disappointed that Toronto lost to Beijing. I don't believe Beijing should have been awarded the Games. It's a big mistake that will come back to haunt the IOC. A lot can happen in seven years and I'll be surprised if Beijing pulls it off. Wait for everything to die down before China shows its true colours and reverts back to its deplorable human rights record.
Jackie Steele, Canada

China was by far the best choice for the Games and they will the most spectacular Olympics ever. China is a modern, forward-looking, sensible and pragmatic country, though there is plenty of room for human rights improvement. And by 2008 there is likely to be substantial improvements in democracy and human rights.
C Bartlett, Japan ex UK

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