Bejing Olympics Prohibits People with Mental Illness to attend

Deborah Gray Health Guide
  • When I heard that the Bejing Olympics committee issued a document banning mentally ill visitors, among other "undesirables," from attending the Olympics, my first thought was, "Well, color me totally not surprised." After all, why would the Chinese government be any different from other repressive government? They're just the latest in a long line of dictatorships and regimes that require uniformity and a compliant citizenry. Obviously, being different or imperfect in any way makes you undesirable.

    According to this document, "undesirables" include smugglers, drug traffickers, prostitutes and those with mental diseases or contagious conditions. Gee, thanks for lumping me in with smugglers and drug traffickers. I don't mind being in the same group as sex workers. Actually, it cracks me up that Bejing thinks it's going to prevent that from happening.

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    Oddly enough, although they are including anyone with contagious conditions in that list of banned undesirables, they are allowing lepers in. Apparently a Japanese group made a fuss on behalf of the leper community. My guess is that this is precisely why the Bejing Olympics committee waited until shortly before the opening ceremony to release this document - and only in Chinese. They probably wanted to avoid being pressured by groups representing the "undesirables."

    Maybe, as someone with more than one "mental disease," I should be up in arms about this, but I'm not. I mean, consider the source. Can you really expect an enlightened attitude from this type of government? I mean, let us count the ways in which they stomp on human rights. Foreigners not being able to enter the country is at the bottom of the long list of ways in which they are violating civil liberties. And since I wasn't planning to go the Olympics, it's no skin off my nose.

    Granted, it's pretty shortsighted of the government. After all, hosting the Olympics is potentially a goldmine. Why would you turn away people who are willing to travel thousands of miles, in many cases, and plan to spend a lot of money in your city? If the visitors are treated well, won't positive word of mouth boost tourism? And wasn't this supposed to be the way in which China showed the rest of the world how progressive they are? Um, not quite.

    I'm not quite sure how the Bejing officials will enforce the guidelines. Anyone with half a brain is not going to admit, when they're applying for a visa, to any kind of mental illness or contagious disease or anything else that would appear to make them less than a perfect tourist. What is the government going to do - get the medical records of anyone who applies? That's not going to happen.

    Frankly, I think it was a huge mistake for the Olympic committee to choose China for the games. If they thought that this kind of repression and exclusion wasn't going to happen, they were incredibly naive. Or maybe they just decided to turn a blind eye. I have no idea why. There are plenty of countries on this planet that would not come up with these ridiculous restrictions.

Published On: August 07, 2008