Athletes who take Tibet stand 'face Olympic cut'

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{image-beijing games_11042008.jpg www.oneindia.com}London, Apr 11: Athletes supporting Tibetan "propaganda" may face expulsion from the Beijing Olympics under anti-propaganda rules.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said that though competitors were free to express their political views, they will have to face sanctions if found to be indulging in propaganda.The Olympic Charter bans any kind of "demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda" in any Olympic venue or area, including the opening and closing ceremonies, the medal podiums and the Athletes' Village. Rogge also made it clear that the case of a Spanish athlete doing a lap of honour in the Olympic stadium with Spain's national flag and his provincial flag was "perfectly legitimate".

"We have had many examples of mixed flags where the athlete is proud of that. Is there a will to demonstrate propaganda or is it a desire to demonstrate joy in his victory?" he added.

The IOC, however, did not specify whether a Chinese athlete or a foreign competitor of Tibetan origin flying the Tibetan flag would be propaganda.

"The village is an Olympic venue so it falls under the same rules and regulations of any venue which would mean that anything in there would be judged on whether it was a provocative propaganda initiative," The Times, quoted an IOC spokesperson, as saying.

The fact that the IOC has still not qualified the exact interpretation of "propaganda" means that some athletes remain confused about what they can say during the 16-day event without being sent home or stripped of a medal.

ANI

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