Should IOC ban Beijing Olympic opening ceremony?

Should this afternoon's opening ceremony to the Beijing Olympics be banned? That, surely, is the shocking logical conclusion of the Beijing Olympic rules being bandied about at the moment to justify the banning of flags from the likes of Tibet (and Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

A spokesman for the British Olympic Association has said the flag ban appeared to have been brought in under Rule 51 of the Olympic Charter, which states: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."

If no demonstration for political propaganda purposes is permitted inside the Olympic stadium, shouldn't the IOC be calling for a cancellation of this evening's opening ceremony, bar the athletes' parade?

The multi-million pound demonstration appears designed to impress the world with the organisational, financial and growing political power of 21st century China, while ensuring not even a single banner of dissent is raised in criticism of its human rights record. In breach of Olympic rules, surely?

Oh, and given that the British Olympic Association appears to be so quick to explain and defend the actions of the Chinese authorities in outlawing the waving of the separate flags of the nations of the United Kingdom, for the sake of consistency, will the flag of St George, the Scottish Saltire, the Welsh dragon and Ulster's red hand all be banned from London 2012? No? Thought not.

UPDATE: They've started. The protests in the Olympic venues that is: Protest attempt at Olympic event

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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