The Chinese government promised that the Olympics would help bring human rights to China. Wang Wei, Secretary General of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, said in 2001: “We will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China. (…) We are confident that the Games coming to China not only promotes our economy but also enhances all social conditions, including education, health and human rights.”
But what we’ve seen is increasing repression. In preparation for the Games, the Chinese authorities have locked up, put under house arrest and forcibly removed individuals they believe may threaten the image of ‘stability’ and ‘harmony’ they want to present to the world.
Our new report, “The Olympics Countdown: Broken Promises” looks at four areas related to the core values of the Olympics: persecution of human rights activists, detention without trial, media censorship and the death penalty.
Local activists and journalists working on human rights issues in China are at particular risk of abuse during the Games. Human rights activist and writer Hu Jia is still serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for “inciting subversion” by writing about human rights and giving interviews to foreign media. Hu Jia suffers from liver disease due to a Hepatitis B infection but the authorities have prevented his family from taking him medicine. Other activists from outside the capital have been told not to go to Beijing in August. You can take action for him here: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=407
You can find out more about the report when it launches at 10pm tonight (UK time) at www.amnesty.org.uk/news. Hope you can give it a mention.
Amnesty also releases False Start tonight, the last (and best, in my view) of our hard-hitting, animated viral films. It highlights the persecution of people who speak up for human rights in China, depicting a cartoon Olympic protester being shot by a Chinese security official. You can get a sneak preview and find the code to put it on your site at: www.amnesty.org.uk/videospecial.asp using the login amnestypreview and the password: A1film.
We’ve also launched a new website – In both English and Chinese – called The China Debate (www.thechinadebate.org) which aims to raise awareness of human rights violations in China and promote a balanced debate on how improvements can be achieved.
*From Amnesty International