British Olympians prohibited from criticizing Chinese government

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has inserted a controversial clause into their athletes’ contracts preventing them from criticizing the Chinese government while participating in the ’08 Beijing Games.

The clause states only that athletes “are not to comment on any politically sensitive issues,” which would include China’s dismal human rights record and its occupation of Tibet. The move has been widely condemned as an infringement on the athletes’ rights of free speech.

Those who do not sign the contract will not be permitted to travel to the Olympics, and those that violate it while in China will be sent home, according to the BOA.

The move has already been compared to the British soccer team’s forced Nazi salute before a match in Germany in 1938, which they were told to give to come across as “gracious guests.”

UPDATE: Because of all the outrage this contract provision has caused, it looks as if British Olympic officials may reconsider the clause after all.