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Australian Olympic Team seeks advice on Tibet protest

July 15, 2008

Sarah Wotherspoon
Melbourne Herald Sun
July 14, 2008

AUSTRALIAN Olympians have sought advice about how best to make a stand
on Tibet at the Beijing games next month.

The Australia Tibet Council said it had had inquiries from some current
team members as to how they could best protest China's treatment of Tibet.

The protest group's campaign co-ordinator Dr Simon Bradshaw said
ex-athletes and those travelling to the games had also been calling the
council for advice since March.

In response the ATC yesterday launched a resource pack which includes a
T-shirt in Aussie green and gold with the slogan "I support human
rights" in English and Mandarin.

Dr Bradshaw said there was a growing number of people who wanted to show
support for Tibet but admitted those who wore the shirts, or badges and
stickers with the Tibetan flag, could face consequences from Chinese

"There are a lot of socially conscious athletes out there. We have had a
number of expressions of interest from people wanting to talk about ways
to show support for Tibet," he said.

"I think the message is positive and apolitical."

The slogan was chosen to ensure there is no explicit reference to Tibet.

The packs will be provided in confidence to any Australian heading to
the Beijing Games.

But Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred said athletes
were being advised not to take the packs to China.

"We cannot order them not too, but we recommend not taking that material
into Beijing. Firstly it's a breach of Chinese law and also we believe
it's a breach of the IOC rule 51 which forbids political, racial or
religious demonstrations," he said.

"We have given (the athletes) freedom to express their point of view at
the Games but we strongly recommend they don't breach the law."

The Olympics begin in 25 days. The lead-up to the Games has been marred
by controversy over the crackdown in Tibet and China's handling of human
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