Brit Olympians Hit With Gag Order on China

Can't go unless they sign contract to keep mum on issues
By Max Brallier,  Newser User
Posted Feb 10, 2008 9:04 AM CST
China's National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, is seen at rear at the Olympic Green in Beijing Monday, Jan. 28, 2008. A Chinese official grudgingly acknowledged Monday that six workers have died...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – British athletes headed to the Beijing Olympics are being required to sign a controversial document barring them from criticizing the Chinese government, reports Britain's Daily Mail. They must promise "not to comment on any politically sensitive issues," said a spokesman for the British Olympic Association, which wrote the contract. Athletes who refuse to sign won't be allowed to travel to the August games, he told CNN.

British Olympic team members have long been required to sign contracts, but this is the first time the agreement will include such a ban on speech. The move has already triggered a fusillade of criticism. "Given that America, Canada and Australia are explicitly saying that their athletes can say what they want when they go to Beijing, it's inappropriate to put this restriction on our athletes," said a British lawmaker. "They must be allowed to say what they want."