The Genocide Grand Prix?

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With the Olympic Games being held in Beijing this year many influential people have used the opportunity afforded by the publicity to attack China’s abysmal human rights record and support for regimes that perpetrate genocide.

F1’s had a Chinese Grand Prix since 2004. So are none of F1’s millions of fans bothered about being tainted by association with a country that has perpetrated and facilitated immense cruelty?

F1 had to face a similar issue in the late 1970s and early 1980s as it continued to host races in Apartheid South Africa while international pressure grew on the racist regime.

It is a subject that provokes strong opinions – to many fans the intrusion of politics into their favourite sport is an anathema. Others resent it as a hypocrisy, claiming other countries commit crimes of equal or greater magnitude and no-one complains about them.

But the counter-argument to that is pretty strongly put too. In this case we’re talking about China backing a regime that has killed 200,000 people and displaced a further two million. The money to build the Shanghai International Circuit had to come from somewhere, and China cashed a pretty big cheque selling weapons to the Sudanese.

Whatever your feelings about the politics and the Olympic Games, it depresses me that the question of whether F1 should be racing in China under the circumstances has been largely overlooked.

If the Olympics are going to Beijing and drawing attention to a major international issue, F1 seems to be shuffling into Shanghai and doing its best to ignore the same issue. I wonder if that might change by the time F1 returns to China in October, two months after the Olympics have finished.

Photo copyright: Red Bull / GEPA

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “The Genocide Grand Prix?”

  1. That’s a very good point Keith. I think someone in the paddock should have told something about this in 2004 whene everyone used special words for the new track, the ne paddock, the new atmosphere. No one of them seemed to be interested in the actual situation of China. I hope something will change this year at least.

  2. Let’s be frank: that won’t happen. Or unlikely at the very least.

    Why? Manufacturers.

    Unlike the Olympics (which have big companies as sponsors only), F1 has manufacturers who want to make a profit by their being in the sport. Bringing the human rights issue up just negates that presence in the sport. So for the manufacturers, they’d rather stay quiet about this and make big bucks in the biggest (most populous) nation on earth.

  3. Good point Journeyer. Many of the manufacturers active in F1 build cars in China.

  4. Yes, but what about the drivers? F1 has very young drivers and no one of them spoke about the problem of human rights in China. People of the same age (20 years old) are FORCED to work with very very small payment. If car manufacturers stay quiet (and we know the reason) my hope was that one of the drivers could say something. I know it’s impossible, but who knows…

  5. Bernie prefers to deal with dictatorships. He said so only this week. He has no interest in where races are held beyond how it affects his bank balance. Formula 1 drivers and team personnel are permanently ‘on message’ so would never dream of saying anything negative. Even the ludicrous corner at Shanghai was barely criticised.

    For me the interesting thing about the response to the Olympics going there is that it shows the difference in stature between F1 and the Olympics. I imgaine Bernie’s ego took a bump when he found out that no-one cared about his circus going there but as soon as the Olympics turn up there is outrage on a huge scale.

    China is run by a despicable regime with no interest in what anyone thinks about it. It is involved in numerous horrors from Sudan to the occupation of Tibet to the way it treats its own people. However unless they let someone without a pass into the paddock no-one in F1 will make any comment.

  6. yes and now how do we justify all that F1 merchandise offered on all the F1 sites, on many F1 blogs and bought by so many F1 fans … 99% of it is made in China as we are all aware, right ?

  7. That’s a good and deep subject. Grand Prix racing and human rights violation…

    To begin with, almost every single muslim country would have problems, for the way they treat women (even tough the GP hosts – Turkey, Bahrain and Malaysia, that I recall – are the least restrictive, but none of them have our hard-fought western “equality of genders”)

    Based on the same thing, the United States would have serious problems to get back in the calendars, not only for their overseas wars, but for they way they treat foreign prisioners, with disregard to the Geneva Pact for war prisioners…

    Even my beloved Brazil would have some issues, with the most recent and brutal event being a teenage girl arrested, for stealing a wallet or so, with twenty adult men in a small cell in the Amazon, in a rural area of Pará state, during two months…

    I’ll have to leave my room… I’ll continue soon…

  8. I think Daniel has hit the nail in the head here. It’s all well and good being principled when it comes to this stuff (for instance, a Zimbabwe Grand Prix might look pretty difficult to justify at the minute, the cricket issue is a perennial problem with them it seems), but things are never as black and white as they might seem. Shades of grey are always involved, and China wouldn’t be the only place where you could argue that we shouldn’t go on principle until non-motorsport related things have been sorted out.

    Sorry, if it seems like I’m rambling, it’s because I don’t know what I’m arguing for here, other than to say “hmm, tricky one”.

  9. Putting things this way, only European countries, Canada and perhaps Australia would be free from questioning, and only because we are considering present, current human rights violations…

    Oops, not even Europe would be free, since racism IS a serious human rights violation… I was only considering violations perpetrated by the Governments, not by citizens…

    China is far from being an isolated case, and, as you pointed out brilliantly, since Bernie prefers tobacco-friendly dictatorships, I think, sadly, it’ll be hard to see any other protest like those against South Africa anytime soon…

  10. Sounds as if all violators of ALL human rights should not have a race. Well who decides—Do we have a scale to measure such abuse. I mean is China worst then say Bahrain?? These are all interesting views, but as an American I thought we made a grave mistake in not going to Moscow in the 1980 Olympics. Politics are outside of sports. That sounds harsh but we have to feel this way as a group. Individually if you object to China or the USA (still no race here anymore) then don’t attend or watch. People are political and have certain points of view, but these can never be confused with a sport. I often find it strang when someone thinks that by running a race in China means that somehow we (as fans) support China’s views. Serving over in the region as a young man I saw first hand what types of abuses the Chinese govt can met out, but I still watch the race every year and I will watch the Olympics later this year!!! Politics and Sports do not mix.

  11. In these arguments phrases such as “sport and politics do not mix” get repeated like a mantra. I don’t understand why.

    Art can be political. Business can be political. Music and science and television can be political. Why should sport be any different?

  12. Of course people will say sport and politics don’t mix. Sport (like cultural exchanges) is often used as an easy weapon to score a point when meaningful actions such as trade sanctions or diplomatic isolation are avoided. It is most often used by those who have no interest in the sport involved or possibly in any sport. There is a huge hypocrisy in the actions of people who deny others their pleasures so they can display their sanctimonious indignation.

    Sport is not about success through morality, the pinnacle of any sport or indeed the success of the sport itself is not reached through the ‘goodliness’ of its actions.

    The motivation of those who oppose participation in China needs to be examined. I regret many do so from peer pressure (Mr Spielberg) rather than any decision based on informed opinion. China is far from perfect but it will not be made perfect or even improved by denying it a Grand Prix. The transition of South Africa from the unacceptable regime of the 1960s/70s was achieved as much through encouragement and participation as it was through isolation.

  13. “Art can be political. Business can be political. Music and science and television can be political. Why should sport be any different?”

    You’re going off the deep end now Keith. Does anyone attack TV or Art museums to remove “political” programmimg or showings? It’s discussed and debated but rarely if ever censored.

    Why should sport be different? As pointed out earlier, the biggest mistake ever was Carter’s knuckle headed ploy to boycott the ’80 Olympics.

    There is a rationale that goes along the lines of domesticating tyrannical regimes through inclusion as opposed to exclusion. The more freedoms the Chinese people experience the less tolerant of suppression they will become.

  14. I’ve found the last two comments much more persuasive than “sport and politics don’t mix”…

  15. If we attack the Chinese for genocide and selling weapons, then surely we have to attack the USA for selling weapons and (allegedly) torturing inmates at Guantanamo Bay. The simple fact is that, despite the obvious moral reasons not to have a Grand Prix (or the Olympic Games) in China, the people who make these decisions are more heavily influenced by money than they are by morals.
    Granted, “sports and politics don’t mix” is a bit of a stupid thing to say, but, sadly, people don’t watch sports to get a political message, they watch sports for entertainment. I’m not saying that’s right, I’m saying that’s what happens, and it would take something pretty big to change that.

  16. Tell me then Keith how do we not use the mantra “sports and politics don’t mix…” Today this is unavoidable. If there were a better way to say it I would have. There are certain areas that we as a people need to be free in our self expression– be it art, sports, or even TV. If, for agruements sake, China is so egregious in it human rights abuses then the entire world would cry out as it did with South Africa. I did not even hear a moan when Bejing was announced as the home of the summer games. To me that was a good thing. If a regime is accused of abuse and the world as a whole attacts politically that regime becomes more isolated and distant from the world community. So in part the Olympics and the race in Shanghi make them feel more of a part of the world. My only hope is that they treat their people better, but I can not make that happen. If I boycott the race this year I earn nothing. If we all boycott the race this year China loses something. The people in power suffer nothing. But the people, the average Chinese citizen suffers more. I like the mantra it works for me!! I am only useing China as an example. I never want to be accused of quantifing human abuses with a scale.

  17. Vertigo,
    I could not have said it better myself!!

  18. I didn’t say you couldn’t use the phrase, I said I didn’t understand it.

  19. It would be greater, and much more louder, to see a protest within the event, like the black panthers did at the podium, with black-gloved fists raised to the skies, in the 1968 Olympic Games, I think…

    It wouldn’t deprive those “non-political” from their Grand Prix, and would give a clear message to the World…

    Unfortunately, Formula 1 is too big, there are so many and heavy commercial interests involved, the drivers are much more linked to their sponsors than the olympic athletes, and to exclude even the most unlikely probability, this generation of drivers seem uncapable of complaining against human rights violations perpetrated by GP host nations anywhere (interviews, articles, declarations)…
    But Formula 1

  20. I agree with Daniel– the athletes of the Olympic Games can protest while there it would have a much greater political impact. F1 CVC and their sponsers conduct business in China so F1 is out of this.

  21. An interesting question – and not one with an easy answer. Does interacting with dodgy regimes encourage them out into the open (an argument that could be put for the Hungarian GP in the 80s)? Or does it provide a shield for the doings of nasty dictatorships?

    And where does one draw the line. No doubt what is going on in Sudan is worse than what is going on in Iraq, but the Iraq war, too, has plenty who will criticise it on human rights grounds. (Come to that, the same is true of the occupation of Afghanistan, which I happen to support…always a difficult area)

    Must quibble on one point though. Science isn’t or at least shouldn’t be political. It is about finding out the way in which the world works. Generally, it only becomes political when some people don’t like the answers it starts turning up, or when people disguise their ideological convictions behind ‘pretend science’

  22. Patrick you must be a scientist. Science is completely political and always has been. Science was started by the War machines in the Greek City states. Even today–Look if you think that Oppehiemer was really losing sleep over the Manahatten project I have real estate for you in Florida. Every single scientist that I have met has told me that there work is not for political reasons, but all research is publically funded to some extent That, by default, makes it political. Do not think for one minute that whether you are a scientist working on the AIDS vaccine or one developing a better fuel that your work will not be used politically. Scientists are naive to think that any research is for an amoral purpose. Today there are no such thing as “an amoral purpose”. I am sure that their are inovations in certain military’s planes that were researched on by public dollars by scientists whose work was “apolitical” in nature that is now classified. I am also sure if these inovations were public some could be used in F1. Sorry Patrick but whenever a scientist tells me he not political I have to disagree strongly. I spelled Oppenhiemer wrong above but I will lose the text if I edit.


  23. It seems that sport and politics do mix. We’re all here because we love the sport of F1 – but Keith asks a political question and suddenly we all have an opinion. Even the stance of “politics and sport don’t mix” is a political stance. :D

    Great post, Keith – cats and pigeons spring to mind…

  24. LOL. Yes even NON politics brings out politics. Thanks for lighting it up Clive

  25. openwheel: totally agreed! Even without all the things you correctly pointed out, politics would still be present in science, at least among the scientific community, at the attempts of their members to criticize other one’s conjectures, in order to make their owns prevail, and it’s valid for any given subject, according to Karl Popper…

  26. clive: perfect! Not mixing sports and politics IS AS POLITICAL as mixing them…

  27. Daniel, while I respect your viewpoints, I could very much take objection with you comparing the United States to China in terms of human rights violations. This is not a political blog, so I will certainly not venture into those waters here.

    On the subject of F1 visiting nations with oppressive human rights records, dose anyone here think Bernie actually considers those things when making out the schedule? Many westerners view China as being the next big market, and F1 sure won’t miss out on the party. It’s especially easy for Bernie to make the move when China has built lavish facilities at the circuit, when facilities have been his griping point when pulling out of previous tracks (Imola) or threatening to pull out (Silverstone).

  28. gman, in a way you’re right, because Bernie does go for money in new markets. However, I think that F1 as a business has an obligation to venture into new markets like Singapore and Bahrain to be seen as fresh and new, as well as boosting the country’s economy, even if, like China, they do seem a bit dodgy. The IOC and FIFA have no problem with China, and nor does other countries when it comes to trade, so why should the FIA, even if they should take umbrage over oppressive human rights.
    Also, I believe that China and the USA can be compared in terms of human rights violations, because if you violate human rights even once then you’ve crossed a line you oughtn’t have. But as you said, it’s not a political blog, it’s an F1 blog, even if “sports and politics don’t mix”.

  29. Politically I am what would in today’s climate be called progressive. I believe in participation, communication, openness, and adhering to the rule of the land, as well as international rules. From that perspective, China is a violator of many international laws in Tibet alone, let alone the rest of the population. And yes, the US is in grave violation of the Geneva convention and its own laws, but you can also come to my country, Canada and take a look and the reserves that our First Nations live on. I guarantee you if you were a political animal and an F1 fan, you would call for the Montreal race to be canceled.

    There are few areas where I choose to compromise my political stances, but my beloved F1 just has to be one. I fully agree that certain areas of human achievement and expression have to transcend the political and exist in a separate realm.

    That’s from the Bernie perspective. Entertainment and business. However, I find Max’s position to be completely hypocritical. He functions on the political level, and has decided to make the environment his chief concern, but ignores the very issues we are discussing. Only the FIA can decide what country should and shouldn’t participate, and I don’t believe it should be completely neutral. It’s not Switzerliand and it’s not the IOC. If he wants to play politics, he should go all in and grandfather in the countries that are currently participating and hold new entries up to human-rights standards. Either that or stay out of it entirely and let the teams race without the political interference he has become so reviled for.

  30. Daniel, sadly Oz is not without it’s human rights issues (think of our treatment of Aboriginals and Refugee’s for starters). That leaves Canada as possibly only the PC destination for a race, and that would not be very exciting as a series, would it?

    I have recently grappled with this issue, as I am off to Singapore in Sept for their GP. The Singaporean support of the Military Junta in Myanmar (Burma) amongst other questionable practices makes it, in my mind anyway, a conundrum as to whether I part with some of my hard earned supporting such a government. Clearly Napoleon Bernie and Mad Max have no such qualms, to them the almighty $$$ wins everytime.

    Sadly, scratch the surface deep enough and I am sure you will see violations and abuses from just about every country on earth. For the ethical sports fan or traveller this is disheartening. But what to do? Do you boycott every thing and country which does not match your own moral code? Or do you just focus on the more serious ones?

    For me, this is why I chose to attend Singapore rather than China this year. A small, and probably ineffectual gesture I admit, but every drop in the ocean counts.

  31. …nothing like racism and politics to spice up the posts during the off season …huh?

    I hope we get to Oz before we start talking religion.

  32. I fully agree that certain areas of human achievement and expression have to transcend the political and exist in a separate realm.

    This sounds so much better then “sports and politics don’t mix…”
    Thank You Arnet

  33. Sports are politics. If you take F1 to a certain country it’s because you want what they offer, and you offer them something they want. You’re trading, and when you’re trading, it’s also politics. Philosophical support or no, you’re making the economy there run, thus supporting the growth of said country.

    But I don’t think China does not deserve it. It’s easy for europeans and north-americans to babble about human rights. They have built their rich societies literally killing south-americans, africans and asians, with absolutely no regard for human rights. Now that they are rich, they want to stop other nations from doing the exact same process. People do what they do for a reason – China is not “evil”. China is just a few steps behind. Because of obvious reasons.

  34. You beat me to the punch, Pink Peril! I was astounded to just read the Aussie attempts at forcibly assimilating Aborigine children. Even Canada has a history of native American abuses.

    In short, there is no country without a stain in it’s past or present, which begs the question: Where do you hold sporting events without the appearance of supporting a “repressive” regime? Can’t be done IMHO.

  35. There’s always Antarctica, I suppose.

    I think we need to consider what we are saying here. How many countries can you say what you think of the government and not find yourself in jail very quickly? In some places I wouldn’t even be allowed to say what I think of Max and Bernie.

    Be grateful that we can still talk like this and may free speech spread to all corners of the earth.

  36. Cool and measured response, as always, Clive.

  37. Good point FLIG.

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, hey !
    (note please I am not religious, I just love using metaphors ;))

  38. I was thinking the same thing this afternoon Clive!! I did not say any thing because I wanted fans in countries without the same rights to read this string. It is a reflection on free world thinking

  39. Pink Peril and George…..

    We said we were Sorry!!

    In all seriousness, there is a line in the sand between Immoral regimes being still in power, as is the case in China or the actions being an acknowledged, embarassing and shameful aspect of their past, as it is in Australia.

  40. The regime still still in power with the worst human rights record in the history of humankind is America. yes, you read it right – America! They have invaded, infiltrated and manipulated so many countries so many times throughout history that the number of people they killed directly or indirectly would probably run up to a billion. And they continue to do so today with Afghanistan and Iraq and soon, Iran. So 200,000 in China is nothing. Every other regime put together is nothing. It’s the Empire you guys should be worried about.

  41. Mark – I am an Aussie !

    And proud to be one, after last thursday.

    As you say, it’s one thing to have a few skeletons in the closet (there’s those darn metaphors again). It’s another thing to still be piling fresh bones in front of it.

  42. There are no saints in this world, and no country however well placed has a clean record. The ones who shout the most about rights seem to disregard it even more when it suits them.

  43. Looks like I missed out on most of the party…a little catch-up perhaps.

    Patrick says “….science shouldn’t be political..”. Correct,all basic science is apolitical by definition, which is to say, you are simply finding and describing the nature of the world. All applied science is subject to the vagaries of human intention,for good and bad, moral and immoral, the range and volume of the message is extreme.

    Mr. Ecclestone should hardly be criticized for exclusively employing a business model when it comes to the promotion or selection of Grand Prix locations, as he is now, exclusively, a business man. All criticisms, regarding inclusions and exclusions, of the present and future schedule should be directed to the FIA.

    I must say, I would have found it profoundly encouraging if, during the period of Apartheid, teams, and or drivers, would have refused to participate in any race being held in South Africa; just as I would find it very refreshing to hear that was the case in the situation we are discussing here. It is relatively easy to find oneself paralyzed into inaction by the complexity of a complicated moral question, that is why, sometimes one should applaud, at least, the courage of a personal stand.

    My hat is off to you Keith, an outstanding question.

  44. Alvin, wasen’t I the one who said this was not a political blog, and that I would not expand my thoughts on those subjects here? As a proud American, I could spend all day disputing your claims, but back to the topic we are all here for- F1 racing.

    In terms of F1 racing in China, it is a nation welcomed with open arms by sporting bodies such as FIFA and the IOC, and many American sporting leagues have talked about staging either exibition contests or an occasional game/series in China. I have told many educated people that events such as this should not be staged in a nation with such abusive policies towards it’s people, but the responses sometimes are a pleasent suprise…

    The hidden factor in all of this, that many people have made me aware of, is that events such as F1 coming in may actually promote a fair and democratic way of life in China. Many people say that brining in more things form the free world will only open up China more, lessen the brutal regime’s grip on the people, and speed the arrival of democracy. So perhaps Bernie’s money-hungry ambitions really do have a productive side after all!!

  45. It seems a hot topic today,I am a F1 fan from China,I think we have pay more attention to the Beijing Olympics than the Shanghai GP,but I believe no matter the environment or the passion in China have been improved from 2004 to now.

  46. First and foremost, openwheelfan, you still spelt Oppenheimer wrong ;-)
    Almost everything has been said already, but the call for a protest at the race seems a bit iffy to me, I don’t exactly know how widespread watching the GP is within the Chinese population, but I have this feeling that no one gives a **** in China. So all that would happen is “the West” would see it and probably discuss it ad nauseum without anyone who has any relevance to it even noticing.

  47. Yes Micheal K I know I spelled “Oppenhiemer” wrong but my curser would not allow me to correct it.

    Gman is supporting what I was trying to say. I never said to boycott. I feel that not staging the race would do more harm then not going. Gman’s last paragragh is exact way I feel. I will not comment to Alvin’s post as this is not a politic blog.

    Keith — great subject!!!!

  48. Oppenheimer, openwheelfan, Oppenheimer :-D

  49. LOL I need to keep people on their toes!!

  50. The reason why the China question has been overlooked in Grand Prix racing is because most people who know how races are selected know it’s entirely down to money. Those who don’t know generally don’t care, because they don’t care about F1 either. They do not see F1’s presence in China or anywhere else as a badge of approval for that country – except, perhaps, that it proves it has a powerful enough economy to hold a race.

    The Olympic Games, on the other hand, is traditionally apolitical (the whole “sport and politics do not mix” notion was put into the Olympics in a failed attempt to stop the two getting mixed). Anything which is seen as altering that apoliticism is considered serious, so going to a country where the politics may affect the sport is complained about very seriously. If China had a history of allowing free speech, it probably wouldn’t be in half as much trouble as it is with the Olympics people. Other, more serious consequences would ensue, but that’s another story.

    Sport is like science. For the best performance, it should not be contaminated by outside influences. However, for it to have an effect in the rest of the world, it must inevitably invite matters from outside in (including politics).

    As for the whole “not going to countries where human rights abuses still occur” issue, I can tell you that not only does no such country exist, but that every country is still engaging in human rights abuses at this time. A cursory look at the websites of psychiatric support organisations will demonstrate that every country which recognises the term subjects at least some people with that label to treatment that could be considered inhumane simply because of that label. That this is against the UN Charter of Human Rights appears to have missed those countries.

    That said, I have to boycott China for the foreseeable future. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum and classified as a mental disorder. Until Chinese law changes, I am therefore forbidden from entering the country. At least Singapore doesn’t actively discriminate against people of a different neurology…

  51. I know we’ve spent ages saying this isn’t a political blog, but Alianora la Canta’s statement that China doesn’t let in people who have mental disorders is despicable. What’s even worse is that I had no idea this happens. F1 or no F1, people should be made aware of this sort of evil prejudice.

  52. I stand corrected. The Olympics just gota little bit more political, with British athletes getting a gag order.

  53. After Alianora’s latest post I think that more discussion on the politics in sports may be warranted. For us to discuss this first we have to discuss ourselves. As I have read above “we” are against human right abuses. Most law abiding people are. It is when we get in a group situation that abuse becomes a viable option in certain situations. I know first hand how this can happen trust me!! This brings me to the socialogical aspects of groupthink that occurs within military units as well as governments in general. This occurs more often than we think. Sometimes it occurs with issues that have nothing to do with human rights. We also have governments run by outright sociopaths as in North Korea. We would never think of staging a race there. Not just because it has no facility but we all realize it would just be wrong. Personally with my own involvement in difficult situations the line which we all would like to use is never stable. It not as easy as “right is right and wrong is wrong”. When I was young I could think that way – Today I am not so sure. Alianora brings a salient point that effects her personally and I agree with her. I had no intention on going to China. But if I had I would not now. Discussions like this can make you ask difficult question. The problem is that people tend to answer too quick. Every situation that has potential for abuse is different. As hard as it may sound military units and goverenments commit these abuses honestly thinking that the good outways the bad. Groups think very Machiavellian(sp?). Individuals tend not to.

  54. But this is where we as fans can participate. It is out of our hands where F1 races will be held, but we can choose to not be consumers there. Drop in the bucket, of course, the races will sell out, but at the end of the day, we have to follow our individual conscience.

  55. China is a very complicated issue. The world has created China as it is today, so if anybody is to blame for the situation are all those who want to buy things cheap… Would please everybody who added their bit to this discussion right now look around and count how many made in China clothes you wear right at this moment, how many made in China things you have around yourself right now, what percentage of your electronics gadgets are made in China. If you are an iPod user you have at least one if you need a hint …

    I spend lot of time in China and I developed an extremely strong allergy to that country – especially to the “culture”. No manners, greed, coruption, everybody out to rip somebody off, everybody cheating everybody else, ignorance, nationalism whatever bad comes to your mind you can find it in China … Get rich quick and burn everything around in the process is what the country is about. Whatever you may think about the ideology or political system is just the packaging. The coommunist ideas do not exist in China anymore. Money is their god … If you think that locals can’t afford to buy F1 tickets you are very very wrong … Yes there are hundreds of millions that earn next to nothing, but I can tell you that a grand stand ticket in Shanghai is as affordable for middle class Shanghainese as is a grandstand ticket in affluent Singapore affordable for middle class Singaporean … But in China you have millions of very very rich … Go to any hole of city with 200 – 300,000 people ( a village in China scale ), and count all the Audis, Mercedeses, BMWs, Buicks, Porsches, Passats … then wonder why F1 is there… Not because Honda makes cars in south China, because everybody who makes fancy cars sells a lot in China …

    I would love to deal with other countries and everytime an opportunity comes to switch something from China somewhere else I am very happy to do so. But … the greed of the world does not allow that. People vent their opinions and feelings like here below this post, but when it comes to everybody’s wallet, people prefer to pay a dollar for China made stuff insted of 3 for Korean, 5 for Japanese or European or American …

    So, if we all want to send message out, just stop being hypocrats and stop buying Chinese stuff. Instead of 20 cheap T-shirts a year buy 2 expensive ones, instead of changing mobile phones every year or more often keep one for 5 years, it will still dial the number, instead of giving the kids 10 new toys every week, give them 1 every month … And ditch all the “designed in California assembled in China” iPods… Until we are willing to that, we have no right to complain about China holding the Olympics or F1 races …

    Sorry for this rant …

  56. Once I thought the discussion was over, milos shed some new light on it…

    Once again, I agree with you. Chinese products are low cost for us at a high cost of labour rights violations and heavy enviromental damage… And our “awareness” to judge the news is as important as when we act individually as consumers and citizens…

    On the other hand, we should not forget that chinese products were responsible for helding inflation rates at low levels worldwide for the last decade, especially at the US…

  57. Milos,
    Your “rant” is worthy of a reply. I agree with everything you said. Words are easy for us, action on the other hand is much more complicated. The economic consequences of boycotting or cutting back on imports from China would affect the world economy . I am not saying that it is “right” to buy “made in China”. I just think that the work to do this for every consumer is daunting. For example some goods are assembled in Mexico with parts from China. The greed is worldwide and F1 is not immune to it. The venues in China can foot the bill. As Alianora said before “Bernie will go where the money is”.

  58. Well, all of a sudden this article seems very relevant again!

    it depresses me that the question of whether F1 should be racing in China under the circumstances has been largely overlooked

    Me too… but it encourages me that people aren’t prepared to turn a blind eye to the situation in Bahrain right now

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