Jacques Rogge and his history of China

It was hard to believe the report by Roger Blitz in the Weekend FT about Jacques Rogge

Like most sportsmen, politics barely featured in his upbringing. The 65-year-old Belgian combined a career as an orthopaedic surgeon with an aptitude for yachting that took him to three successive Olympics.

Reading the rest of the article, it seems that he probably passed on history as well,

“It took us 200 years to evolve from the French Revolution. China started in 1949. At that time it was a country of famine, epidemics, floods and civil war. It had no economy, no health care, no education system and there was 600m of them,” he says. “They had to build that and it was a bumpy road. We all know that there were abuses under Mao and the Cultural Revolution was not a nice period. But gradually, steadily, over 60 years, they evolved, and they were able to introduce a lot of changes.”

Back in 1949, Mr Rogge pointed out, the UK was a colonial power. So too were Belgium, France and Portugal, “with all the abuse attached to colonial powers. It was only 40 years ago that we gave liberty to the colonies. Let’s be a little bit more modest”. China may not be a role model in the west, Mr Rogge concedes, but “we owe China to give them time”.

It is hard whether to know whether to laugh or cry.

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