In an agreement with China in 2017, the Norwegian authorities pledged to encourage their athletes to participate in Chinese sporting events. – Absolutely horrible, says former skier Gudmund Skjeldal.
Aftenposten collaborates with VG-sporten. Therefore, as a reader of Aftenposten, you also get articles and services created by VG.
– Norwegian sports became meat bones when Norway would appease China after Liu Xiaobo received the Peace Prize (in 2010). It is an abuse of power of the previous government, the sport should demand its termination and not execute the political mandates of the government in China. Absolutely horrible, says Skjeldal.
The Ministry of Culture, on behalf of Norwegian sports, committed to a sports collaboration with China in the agreement through greater sports collaboration and a “Memorandum agreed», A letter of intent that expresses the mutual will to cooperate with other countries.
The letter of intent establishes, among other things, that “the parties will encourage their country to participate in international sports competitions held in their respective countries.” It is valid until April 7, 2022, right after the Olympics ends.
The agreement has already received strong criticism from various sectors and TV 2 revealed through a series of articles in 2020 that the authorities had canceled Norwegian sports, which is a voluntary and independent organization.
Here’s the full note:
The debate over Norway’s participation in the Chinese Olympics has recently gained momentum. The ski star Johannes Høsflot Klæbo does not believe that the unions have done enough mark the resistance to toys; Gerhard Heiberg, a longtime IOC member, calls for the boycott ‘hole in hat».
– Why is this document problematic?
– Sport in Norway has been independent of the state, this has been a mainstay since the sports strike against the Nazi regime during the war years. With this agreement, and this political interference with the initiative of China, the State has made sport a political tool for its strategic, business and diplomatic work with the totalitarian regime in Beijing. Not only does China do the sports laundry, Norwegian politicians obviously do the same, when necessary, says Skjeldal.
Sports laundering is a term used for processes in which sports are used to enhance the reputation of a country.
On July 23, Skjeldal raised the issue in a post on Morgenbladet, where he also asked about “you can play where there are people in concentration camps” – and refers to reports that the Uighur Muslim minority group has been interned in camps in China. China itself denies that they are internment camps, and maintains that they have the opportunity to accept paid work on an equal footing with other Chinese citizens.
Norwegian knowledge in, among other things, biathlon, cross-country skiing and jumping would be exchanged with the Chinese, and Gerhard Heiberg told TV 2 that this sports cooperation was an important prerequisite for improving relations with China, which ended with the signing. finally a free trade agreement.
Norway had been in the freezer for seven years, after diplomatic and commercial ties were severed following dissident Liu Xiaobo’s peace award in 2010. It was Linda Hofstad Helleland (H) who headed the Ministry of Culture when the agreement. was signed.
– Although the agreement has been signed at the government level, it is the sports organizations of the two countries that have the responsibility of following up on the agreement in practice. The agreement encourages the sports organizations of the two countries to cooperate, including participation in sports competitions, but it is entirely up to the sport itself to decide how such cooperation will take place, including the competitions in which they will participate, writes the current Minister of Culture and Gender Equality Abid Raja (V) to VG on the agreement.
Raja refers to sports, and sports president Berit Kjøll believes that it has no implications on his part: “of course, it is up to each athlete to decide whether they want to participate in the Olympics or not.”
“It just came to our attention then. It is voluntary to participate in the Olympic Games. Professionals who do not want to participate for various reasons can refrain from participating freely and independently without consequences of any kind,” Kjøll writes in an email. .
Skjeldal criticizes the agreed memorandum for wanting to influence practitioners’ participation, a point of view that Kjøll does not acknowledge.
“This agreement does not affect the fact that Norwegian athletes have the full right to refuse to participate in the competitions in which they are qualified to participate, regardless of whether we are talking about the Olympic Games, the World Cup, the European Championships or other competitions, regardless of where these take place, “he writes.
Almost five years after the signing of the memorandum, they will soon await the Olympic Games in China.