Saturday, October 11, 2008

Underage gymnasts again

debating the Chinese gymnasts at foolsmountain Charles says

GNZ, I hope you and yours will never be convicted on so little as [fill in the argument here], nor should you and yours ever be presumed guilty because “it takes years to prove otherwise”.

There ain’t no higher authority on this; FIG is the messiah of gymnast age. Until the FIG changes it’s verdict, that’s it, He Kexin is not guilty.

Well there is a certain logic to this except that this is not the appropriate way to apply the innocent until the authority finds them guilty logic.

so I constructed an analogy

The policy that the Olympics has regarding age is the equivalent of he anti child labour policy that many countries have. the idea is that if you ‘buy’ the product of underage Olympians you effectively pay for child abuse (you might agree or disagree but that is the logic behind it so this part of the analogy is pretty tight).

Now the highest authority on child abuse is the country in question. But many people in the west will indeed refuse to buy products from companies that aid agencies (just people - the equivalent of Stryde) tell them are using child labour (especially if they provide photos of documents where they admit to doing it). The argument seems to imply that it would be morally abhorrent to question the innocence of such companies until their own government convicts them.

The question is -
1) do we accept the FIG (or the government of the country which may use child labour) as a trustworthy final authority? Even if we see a mountain of evidence and noone seems to have made a serious attempt to tackle that evidence? Or where the authority has had a poor record of catching such things and where it has caught them it was blindingly obvious for years beforehand.
2) do we apply the innocent until proven guilty to al decision making? for example should a politician be considered innocent until proven guilty? should a business be considered innocent of using child labour until a court proves it guilty?
3) is this even about he kexin? the punishment for north Korea (the only country caught for breaching the rules) was a 2 year ban - so it amounted to a punishment of the country's gymnastics federation for what the gymnastics authorities see as a sort of child abuse (as opposed to child crime).


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