Should the torch attendants be banned?

Japan’s decided it’s not interested in having the ‘Olympic Holy Flame Protection Unit’ surrounding the Olympic torch when the relay arrives in Nagano. These are the guys in blue tracksuits who looked anything other than amateurs.

Lots of you were asking who they were. The Times in London is claiming they are ‘elite members of the Chinese paramilitary force sent to crush dissent in Tibet’. Is it time they were relived of their torch duties on every remaining leg of the relay?

20 Responses to “Should the torch attendants be banned?”

  1. 1 George USA
    April 11, 2008 at 13:57

    Torch Farce

    China, the leadership, need to evaluate themselves.

    The torch procession has become a farce.
    The only way they can touch ground in any country it hide, play cat and mouse with protests, disappear,
    run away, pretend to hold a torch run then do no such thing.

    The people of the world do not have any ill will against the people of China.
    The people of each nation the torch farce goes to shows strong disagreement with the policies and practices of China’s leadership.

    Rather than rethink their actions we see the state trying to bully and brass others.

    Lies, bulling and insults here on this WHYS are not rethinking policy or practices.
    What is going on here is exactly why the Torch Farce is a Farce.

    Grow up.

  2. 2 steve
    April 11, 2008 at 14:34

    Well obviously they don’t do a very good job of protecting the flame, so either they’re not very elite or that’s not their purpose. Honestly, who cares? I don’t like the stupid olympic mascots either, should those be banned? who cares?

  3. April 11, 2008 at 14:57

    They don’t represent china well

    They don’t represent the olympic spirit at all!

    They are rude, violent and look awfully like smurfs (ie their outfits)

    get rid of them

    let china trust each countries national security forces to protect the torch… in london we have police who run in marathons, surely they were more equipped to protect the torch.

  4. 4 umoh amos
    April 11, 2008 at 15:01

    Touch attendant are only doing their job, for which there receive their pay.

    There are not the ones that constitute the problem! The truth is that each time we see the torch and the attendants that guide them, our mind flashes back to where the Touch is coming (china) and where it is going to (China) and the recent memories of China has not been pleasant. At the moment the word β€˜China’ crosses any mind, an overwhelming sense of discomfort and anger floods any mind. In an attempt to express that anger, anything and everything that constitute China (whether it is the flame or the attendants) is the object to which we want to express that anger on.

    The human right policy of that ruling government has to put right.

  5. April 11, 2008 at 15:09

    The guys in the blue tracksuits should not be there in the first place. The fact that they were said volumn about GB’s competence and abilities.
    The problem in this country is they fester, perpetrate, accentuate the problem. Solve it in the best possible light or blame it on others. It is the most gigantic vicious circle I have ever seen.
    BBC as a great institution played a prominent role in it, consciously or subconsciously

  6. 6 Brett
    April 11, 2008 at 15:28

    Japan should get its own force of runners in red track suits and they should surround the blue suit circle which surrounds the flame…. It could succeed at one of two things… creating a neat synchronized color coded looking mass, or looking like some atari or nintendo enactment.

    Or they could have a dance-off, red vs. blue track suit breakdancers. Winner gets to watch the flame for the rest of the journey.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  7. 7 Peter Gizzi UK
    April 11, 2008 at 15:34

    To see British Police stand back while Chinese thugs policed British Streets in London disgusted me. Sadly The UK is getting used to this situation. George Bush took us into The Iraq War. The Saudis supressed British Law over alledged backhanders to Saudi Royals from BAe Systems. The EU makes 75% of our laws. Now it seems The Chinese rule too. Our Government is simply people by theatrical puppets whose strings are pulled from abroad.

    The torch should be protected by the police of the country through which it is going.

  8. April 11, 2008 at 15:43

    as long as people attempt to use violence to impede the olympic torch, the torch attendants should be allowed to accompany the torch. the shame is that the olympic torch, a symbol of peace and friendship, should have to be protected. evryone should be out in force PEACEFULLY protesting the sick irony that the repressive chinese communist government (ccg) has been bestowed the honor, by the international olympic committee (ioc), of presenting this symbol to the world while it is silencing and imprisoning the freedom seeking native inhabitants of tibet . even if the ccg was not involved in its illegal occupation of tibet, its own repressive policies inside china where it denies the basic freedoms of religion, speach and media dissemination, are enough to outrage the free world. howver, violence is not the answer as it gives the ccg a propaganda tool it can use to its advantage inside china where it controls what one billion people’s perceptions of the world. we must remember that the average chinese citizen does not have access to the truth and as such believes what the ccg tells them. when the ccg shows images of westerners acting violently it reinforces their claims that the rest of the world is anti-chinese, and that the events in tibet are not because the tibetans are unhappy, but are the result of a small group that illogically seeks to separate tibet from the motherland. so any violence directed at the torch is counterproductive. the world knows what is going on in tibet and in china. the chinese people do not.

  9. 9 John in Salem
    April 11, 2008 at 15:46

    Who told the Chinese they own the torch? I don’t recall any Oympic host country in the past being allowed to do this. Where do they get the authority? What are the limits of their powers? Do we now have to allow every host country to escort the torch with their own private Secret Service?

  10. April 11, 2008 at 16:09

    this focus on individual ”glory” of having one torch bearor is an absirdity

    to see this favoured elite torch bearor is like a demo of a bygone time

    i would like to see the flame run at night
    with the streets lined with children who light candles from the master torch[so that the full power of the flame gets shared far and wide

    the phalanx of body guards looks so much like a policing action it just reeks of authoritarian exclusivity

    china embodies the power of the people [ok it should shine the light of THE PEOPLE ,i feel what is going on at present puts the wrong face to the world

    the oldest developed culture has earned respect, but so too has the dali lama [who has only sought peace ; as far as i have heard , china would be well advised to enjoin with the dalilama to shine the torch of peace as suits the diplomacy of the chinese

    the states of burma, tibet etc would be well served to enjoin into a benevolent china ,but china’s leaders as the more mature needs to take the lead to shine its benevolent unity , and inherant security and stability

    we stand at a crux in time where demon-autocratic two party democracies are being revealed as self [multinaytional/sss ] serving ,that isnt going so well, but the authoritarian right wing ways of the west are not the way to go

    yes a lot is expected from china, but i feel we working as one to serve the people [not just ”big ‘ buisness or bankers or finanicial markets ,or intrenched and moneyed elites]
    more confusus not confuse us ,china must not try to remake itself over in the western way ,it has its own destiny ,but first it must rule for its people not over its people

  11. 11 Chuck Paugh
    April 11, 2008 at 17:51

    The problem with these “torch attendants” is that they have acted in a grossly malicious way wherever they have traveled from what we’ve seen in the news, and they have diplomatic immunity protecting them against lawsuit and arrest. I believe that it is a wise move for the Japanese government to take a stand against these common hoodlums.

    Portland, Oregon

  12. 12 Ana Milena, Colombia
    April 11, 2008 at 18:02

    Hi! πŸ™‚
    John, China doesn’t own the torch. Yet, as they’re the host country for this year’s Olympics, their mission is supposed to be the full protection of the torch among others…. Whatever it takes!

    Are they doing it correctly? Well, that’s the point. They aren’t!
    Someone to blame? Yes. The government, the organisations involved in these tragical issues in Tibet, and the people who mixed thios event with politics. They chose the wrong space (the Olympics) to deal with the problem, in a way they won’t ever solve it.

    The consequence? First, the event is becoming a nightmare in terms of security and seriousness. Second, China and some other participants might become the object of prejudice and critics.

    Somehow, Olympics have always had a political connotation. This time, however, it’s gone so far!!!

    I’ve heard nothing positive about the Olympics this year. I’ve neither heard how all this trouble has helped somehow to solve the problem in Tibet. Too sad. 😦

  13. 13 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 11, 2008 at 18:38

    Hello, everyone! πŸ™‚

    Ana Milena is right: Even though China is the host and has to do whatever it takes to make everything in the event goes right, these blue men, the “torch attendants”, have crossed the line! Then don’t they trust the security the other countries provide? If they do it with the Olympic games, what else are they doing around the world? Also, if the Chinese government knows what the problem in Tibet is and that it’s affecting its reputation around the world, what are they doing to sort it out, instead of ruining the games like some protestors do?

    The Olympic games this year have become an absurde show of violence, horror and prejudice, instead of being a space for concilation among countries… And it seems it’s going to take longer! People does not deserve to have this memory of this event! Then I consider that if the situation does not get better soon and, on the contrary, implies any risk for the athletes and the community, the games should be put off until things get better. It means there’s too much to lose, but at least it would calm down somehow the paranoia that media and people are adding to this annoying situation :(. In every case, people’s safety and rights should be over all, and it includes people in Tibet.

  14. 14 John Smith
    April 11, 2008 at 19:48

    The mere fact that a symbol of sports has to be treated in a political fashion gives rise to the question can sports really be split from politics.
    I have just finished writing a paper on gender and sports and I realise that both sports and money are tied to the same politics and are thus intertwined.

    I think the torch attendants create a false impression that the torch symbolises unity across the world and it is high time we stop placing so much attention on the silly little event and start to make some serious decisions. Do we boycott the olympics as a political sign? Are we willing to “preserve” the western ideals of democracy by going the full length and boycott all things made in China? Do we start to support those countries which have good democracies by consuming their exports?

    The world has moved towards this culture of stamping the products we consume as environmentally friendly (green/organic) and as fair. Should we also start to label our products as “democratically produced”

  15. April 12, 2008 at 02:31

    The “torch attendants” and the way simply showed us what the Chinese Communists are like and how they conduct their business, whether it’s inside of China or outside. They get the job done, ruthlessly. They dress as athletes, but the tracksuits are just their disguise, much like the Communist China, seemingly prosperous and harmonious yet brutal under the cover. The name of “torch attendant” is fake. They are Chinese police.

    I find the those who insist that Olympics are sporting events, period, are quite, shall I say naive? The communists want to hold the Olympics for their political agenda, i.e. they want to be seen as a new government rather than the one that massacred the young students on Tiananmen Square 20 years ago. With more money in the pocket, they can afford to hold the events and demand everyone’s respect in the world without ever trying to give any respect to its own citizens’ rights and freedoms.

    I simply don’t understand those who keep saying that don’t mix politics with sports or torch relay is not the place for protests. If people din’t protests at the relay, they would never get any attention from the world. Sorry for ruining the party for everyone, but maybe you haven’t seen the protests of that Falun Gong group in front of Chinese embassies, or Burmese and Sudanese people. They’ve been there for years and how many people are aware of their struggles? I doubt there are many or else we wouldn’t be talking about boycott the Communists’ games. We would be talking about boycotting the products from China much like how the economic sanction against South Africa under apartheid. The world does have double standard.

    I wonder if many of my fellow Chinese are racists or not. They’ve made many hate speeches against Tibetans if they really consider Tibet is a part of China and therefore Tibetans are Chinese as well. I have heard the same hate speeches against the Falun Gong people when they show up in from of Chinese Embassy almost everyday to protest the Chinese government. Who are these Chinese that misrepresent our Chinese culture and civilization? We are not barbarians or Nazi’s. Wake up, Chinese! Do we want to be seen as the people in Nazi Germany? Germans have to repent and apologize again and again for Holocaust. The world does know Communist regime is killing Tibetans, Falun Gong and Uyghurs and abuse all sorts of people in China. It’s time the expatriate Chinese and the apologists of the Communist China face these facts and stop denying the atrocities in China.

  16. April 12, 2008 at 04:27

    It would be better if it was sent by air and lit during the opening ceremony and not all the bogus nonsense carrying it lit from country to country, its not only a bad policy but it is also bad when a country like China with its human rights record is granted to stage the Olympics. If it was done in this way so many people would not have died protesting China’s short commings. In my opinion part of the revenue earned by the Olympic organisation should be donated as compensation to the families of those who died, then perhaps the Olympic committe will be more carefull as to the country they select. Recently one of the members said words to the effect ” we have had problems in the past but managed to overcome them”, I dont think it was wise to make such a remark. If they want to overcome this one, because of the selection of China then they should compensate the victim’s families who have died and admit in some measure they were resposible and appologise for their mistake, but they wont as they are in the business of making money and not for the love of the games.

  17. 17 Emile Barre
    April 12, 2008 at 12:04

    No. I am fed up with all this angst-hand-wringing hypocrisy mainly orchestrated by people who want their cake and eat it. China’s humans rights record was known before they were awarded the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Yet still they were chosen because money talks and morality is dumb. If you want to put somebody up to “stand accused” its the Olympic and Paralympic authorities. It was their decision and it is they alone who must bear the responsibility.

  18. 18 Yoshiteru Yanagita
    April 13, 2008 at 06:53

    Yes,the torch relayers seem to be surrounded by the security guards dispatched from China.I think,and most Japanese would think,torch relay itself mustn’t be prevented by protesters,even if China,which hosts this year’s Olympic Games,is against human rights.It must be that the sports festival and its torch relay have nothing to do with political affairs.Sports is sports,not politics.From this viewpoint,security guard for torch relay is fundamentally and ideally unnecessary.
    And first of all,I can almost assert that,in Japan,no protesting will happen.Japanese people are so hatred of violence and so pacifistic that,if someone does some protests to torch realying,he will get the most shamefulness among Japanese people.So I guess the Japanese authority is against torch guard.

  19. 19 Neal H
    April 15, 2008 at 00:33

    The Olympic committee recently sat down with China delegates and reminded them that China won the Olympics in part with promises to improve civil rights. They were told not to meddle in internal affairs of China.

    Well if they won’t honor a pledge they made to get the Olympics, then we should move the Olympics to a more honorable country. Taiwan would be ideal.

    The Torch Sneak (I won’t dignify it with Run) is a farce, the security runners beating the stuffing out of demonstraters speaks volumes about the PRC, and these Olympics should be moved or scrapped.

    I encourage everyone to contact corporate sponsors of these Olympics and inform them that they will lose any possible business from them if the PRC keeps the Olympics and doesn’t improve things for their people and deal reasonably with Tibet. Faced with loss of revenue, things would start to happen.

  20. 20 Dennis
    May 12, 2008 at 00:05

    no, they should be monitored by the local authorities in the
    country where they are and WARNED against violating
    someone rights….

    Dennis from Madrid, United States of America

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