Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Olympic death toll

It's called the Bird's Nest. Officially it is the Beijing National Stadium, owned by the government of China, built (but not yet completed) for a cost of $423 million US, occupied by Chinese Olympic Committee. It is to be the centerpiece of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

When the world's athletes gather in this state-of-the-art stadium on August 8th, 2008 they will probably marvel at the construction, the artistic form and the advanced Solar Photo-Voltaic power system.

And, since they'll all be gathered together for the grand opening, they should observe a minute of silence in remembrance of those who were killed during the construction of this colossus.
CHINA has systematically covered up the accidental deaths of at least 10 workers, and perhaps many more, in a rush to construct the futuristic ”bird’s nest” stadium in Beijing for this summer’s Olympic Games.

The estimates are drawn from dozens of interviews conducted over six months, under a guarantee of anonymity, with employees from the huge building site in a northern district of the capital.

Witnesses have told The Sunday Times of seeing workers plummet to their deaths from the perilous heights of the stadium, which was designed by a consortium including Arup, the British engineering firm, and Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss architects.

The bodies were swiftly removed by police, who sealed off accident scenes with orange tape and cleared other workers from the area while the dead were loaded into police vehicles, witnesses said.

China, of course, has denied the deaths. They usually do.

I wonder how many Olympians who mount the podiums for their moment of gold, silver and bronze glory will be aware of the unsafe working conditions and the sacrifices made by Chinese workers to provide them with such a magnificent backdrop for their fame?

I wonder if they care?

No comments: