Paris, 21.05.2008 – The Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting today in Paris, expressed its solidarity with the families of the victims of the earthquake in China and adopted the following declaration on the Olympic Games:
“The committee is worried at the continuing over-politicisation of the Beijing Games.
The Olympics are first and foremost a sporting event and the sporting aspects of the Games should take precedence over any other dimension. As the Olympic Charter declares, the goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
Athletes spend years training hard for the Olympic Games, and for many they represent the pinnacle of their sporting careers. It would be unfair to let those with a non-sporting agenda hijack the Games and shatter the Olympic dreams of these athletes. Therefore the committee, while believing it is legitimate for parliamentarians and others to raise issues of concern surrounding sport, is opposed to a boycott of the Games.
Furthermore, the committee believes the Beijing Games are an occasion to shine an international spotlight onto China and could represent a major step forward in strengthening dialogue with this country.”