Boycott 2008 Communist Olympics

Boycott 2008 Communist Olympics

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Gagging clause 'wouldn't stop Irish athletes boycotting ceremony'

Gareth Morgan

Independent ie: April 8, 2008 - IRISH athletes face a controversial "gagging" clause in the contract they must sign before heading to the Beijing Olympic Games.

The contract will prevent them from speaking out or demonstrating against human rights abuses.

The Olympic Council of Ireland, however, suggested that Irish athletes would be free to boycott the opening ceremony, and could escape punishment by arguing that they were busy training.

Pressure mounted on Ireland to boycott the opening ceremony yesterday, as protests against Chinese rule in Tibet flared in Paris.

There were also calls for clarification of the so-called "gagging" clause, which the Olympic Council of Ireland said it was powerless to change, because it invoked Rule 51 of the Olympic Charter.

The 'constitution' of the Olympic movement forbids athletes from "political, religious or racial propaganda" at Olympic sites -- under threat of being disqualified or sent home.

Aid agency GOAL and the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong (CIPFG) last night spearheaded calls for an Irish boycott of the opening ceremony on August 8.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern and Sports Minister Seamus Brennan believe the ceremony should not be boycotted.

Senator David Norris said Rule 51 supported "the nonsensical idea that the games are not political".

He yesterday demanded a "dignified, non-violent" boycott where the Irish flag would be carried, but Irish athletes absent.

Patricia McKenna, former Green MEP and CIPFG spokeswoman asked what the International Olympic Committee would do if the contract was breached.

"Are they going to expel famous athletes, and what would the reaction be?," she said.

The IOC is expected to issue a statement on the matter on Thursday.

Frank Greally, spokesman for the Athletics Association of Ireland, admitted the political atmosphere was "getting quite stormy", but said he couldn't see any athletes "breaking ranks".

"There is lots of pressure, but it is more political pressure than anything involving the athletes."

Management for medal hopeful Derval O'Rourke indicated that she did not wish to comment on politics, but was "just going out there to . . . hopefully win a medal".

GOAL, however, called for Ireland to show "moral fibre", arguing that "backing-away from [a boycott] subverts any claim we have to a moral foreign policy."

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Opposing view: Wrong then, wrong now

U.S. shouldn’t participate in Games hosted by abuser of human rights.

By Dana Rohrabacher

USA Today: In 1936, the world made the mistake of providing Adolf Hitler with a global platform to showcase his fascist propaganda by participating in the Olympics hosted by Nazi Germany. It was wrong to support the Olympic venue then, and it's wrong for the United States to support this prestigious event being held in a similarly fascist regime in 2008.

Since the ancient Greek Olympics, the Games have represented the noblest elements of humanity. That cannot be said of the communist Chinese regime in Beijing. The Olympic torch is supposed to be a beacon of light shining upon mankind's higher aspirations, and it is a travesty to have it hosted by the world's worst human rights abuser.

In 2000, China pledged to improve its human rights and promote political progress during its efforts to host the Olympics. But, according to Amnesty International, China is responsible for more than 80% of all executions documented in the world and holds thousands of political prisoners without charge or trial.

The communist Chinese regime regularly denies freedom of conscience, expression, religion and association. It is said to engage in the harvesting of human organs without consent on live prisoners, especially Falun Gong practitioners and Christians. The recent crackdown on peaceful protests in illegally occupied Tibet and ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims are just a few examples of the Chinese regime's heavy-handed tyranny.

China continues to assist Sudan, Burma and North Korea in abuses against their citizens. It is morally irresponsible for the United States to hide behind economic progress as an excuse for turning a blind eye.

Beijing's propaganda machine is working to present a squeaky clean image while forcibly removing millions of citizens from their homes and rounding up the destitute under the auspices of its Olympic slogan, "One World. One Dream." Its actions raise the question: Whose world and whose dream?

To participate in these Games and stand idly by in the face of such atrocities would be contradictory to our commitment to democracy worldwide.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California is the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight. He has sponsored a resolution calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Monday, April 07, 2008

Tibet: China’s make-believe world

Taipei Times: Sushil Seth

Tuesday, Apr 08, 2008, Page 8 The amazing thing about the developments in Tibet is that Beijing feels wronged. It feels that the world is ignoring its side of the story.

Beijing claims that the uprising in Tibet is the work of a Dalai Lama “clique” through some kind of “remote control” process.

Indeed, China senses a conspiracy of sorts to derail the Beijing Olympics.

Beijing’s make-believe world is made up of multiple contradictions. They can be simultaneously arrogant, suffer from victimization and have a highly charged sense of moral outrage. All these are in evidence in the Tibetan situation.

The arrogance is seen in the summary dismissal of the Dalai Lama’s plea for dialogue, even when he has repeatedly insisted that he seeks only genuine autonomy for Tibet and not independence.

Beijing keeps on demonizing him. They have almost called him a terrorist. He has been described in the Chinese media as “a wolf in a monk’s robe, a monster with a human face but with the heart of a beast.”

They have ignored his call for an international investigation of his presumed role in the Tibetan unrest.

Indeed, he has earned the ire of his youthful Tibetan followers for advocating autonomy and not independence, counseling non-violence and threatening to resign if things were to get out of control.

Above all, he supports the Beijing Olympics, even in the midst of strong calls for its boycott in some quarters.

At the same time, as Tibet’s leader he has highlighted the cultural genocide being committed in Tibet over the years and the unmitigated disaster caused by Han Chinese migration into his homeland.

Following the process, the Tibetans are now a marginalized people.

China had hoped to solve the Tibetan problem by hiving off parts of the old country and merging them into the neighboring Han provinces, reducing Tibetans to a hopeless minority.

And, in what is now called Tibet, they are in the process of being overwhelmed by the Han Chinese migration.

But it has not worked satisfactorily, considering that even in the neighboring western provinces with residual Tibetan populations, Tibetans have staged strong protests.

The problem is that the Tibetans feel a strong sense of loss and a consequent frustration and anger at the way Beijing has stripped them of their cultural heritage.

The Han Chinese surround them on all sides, flaunting their new money and power. In this new order, the Tibetans increasingly feature as a people of yesterday and their monasteries and temples are the subject of curiosity by visiting Chinese tourists. The Tibetans, therefore, feel homeless in their own country.

In this situation of intense alienation, the Dalai Lama has come to represent everything that they are denied — their country, their culture and traditions, their one reference point for all the loss they feel. Tibetans feel an intense desire to be one with him.

But Beijing’s arrogance not to acknowledge his important role and to demonize him tends to only aggravate the Tibetan problem.

Beijing is simply waiting for him to die, as he is already into his 70s. After him, they will appoint their own Dalai Lama and, presto, the Tibet problem will be solved.

What China fails to realize is that Tibet is a problem because its occupation has no legitimacy among Tibetan people. And, if they have not been able to win over the local population over the last 50 or so years, the legitimacy issue remains. In fact, it is getting worse.

They really need the Dalai Lama if they want to solve the Tibet issue. With his espousal of autonomy for Tibet, Beijing can create a new compact with its sovereignty intact. This would leave Tibetans to manage their own internal and cultural affairs, while China could deal with its foreign relations.

But this would be too much of a compromise for China’s communist leaders who are used to having their own way at whatever cost.

Just look at the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, when the army was let loose on students who demanded democratic rights. Naively, China thought it could do the same thing in Tibet.

In the midst of such monumental arrogance, China’s ruling oligarchy also suffers from a deep-rooted sense of victimization. If they are criticized for their human rights violations in Tibet or on any other issue, they immediately cry foul and believe that there is a conspiracy abroad to deny China its rightful place under the sun.

And this is, they would argue, because Western countries have not got over their superior imperialist disdain of China.

All this contributes to a moral outrage that China, which gave so much to the world, should be regarded morally deficient. “How dare they lecture us,” goes the refrain?

Beijing’s view is that China has pulled Tibet out of the dark ages. The Tibetan people and the world should, therefore, be grateful to China rather than lambaste it because of the riots engineered by the Dalai Lama clique.

The Dalai Lama is accused of plotting “terror” in Tibet, in collusion with Uighur separatists in Xinjiang.

If China’s communist rulers can believe this, they apparently live in a world of make-believe.

And this is the problem the world is faced with when dealing with China, whether it is in regard to Tibet, Taiwan or whatever.

Sushil Seth is a writer based in Australia. OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

France - Communist Olympic Torch 2008

Click here to watch the Video on anti-Beijing protests...not anti-Chinese--there is a difference.

France Int. News - It was billed by the Chinese authorities as “the harmonious journey,” but the Paris leg of the 2008 Olympic torch relay Monday did not go according to script, with protests, arrests and scuffles between pro-Tibet demonstrators and security officials disrupting the flame’s passage through the French capital.

Three times in the course of its 28-kilometer route through the City of Lights, the Olympic flame was extinguished by security officials and the torch was finally put on a bus for the final leg of the Paris relay.

After four hours of a chaotic journey through the streets of Paris, Chinese officials finally called off the relay, with the torch reaching the Charléty Stadium, on the southern edge of Paris, by bus.

Reporting from the Charléty Stadium, FRANCE 24's Lanah Kammourieh, following the relay, said the torch arrived “quite discreetly” at the stadium. “The torch arrived on a bus, and there were only some fireworks to signal that it had arrived at its final destination after a hectic day,” she said.

Following a pattern throughout the day, protesters at the stadium attempted to disrupt the proceedings, said Kammourieh. “One man tried to chain himself to the tramway right near the Charléty Stadium,” she said. “Other protesters attempted to unfurl a banner against the Beijing Games, but they were stopped by the police.”

City Hall ceremony cancelled

While scuffles marred the Olympic torch relay in London on Sunday, Kammourieh said Paris had gone even further, with protesters succeeding in disrupting the itinerary of the relay.

Altercations broke out shortly after the relay set off from the Eiffel Tower Monday morning despite the high security presence, with “demonstrations every few meters” according to FRANCE 24’s Nicolas Germain, reporting from along the relay route.

A planned ceremony at the city’s grand City Hall before its arrival at the Charléty Stadium was cancelled at the request of the Chinese authorities organizing the relay, according to the office of the Paris mayor.

"The Chinese officials decided they would not stop here because they were upset by Parisian citizens expressing their support for human rights. It is their responsibility," Paris Mayor Bernard Delanoë told reporters.

Adding to the mayhem, pro and anti-Chinese demonstrators faced off along the route. “Welcome to Beijing,” screamed a group of pro-China supporters in unison, waving Chinese national flags.

But when a pro-Tibet demonstrator handed the group a flag with the Olympic rings represented by handcuffs, it was summarily torn by the pro-China protester.

‘Olympic values were a bit ridiculed today’

Monday’s mayhem was an embarrassment for French as well as Chinese officials organizing the relay.

In an interview with France 2 television, Sports Minister Bernard Laporte criticized Monday’s protests. "The Olympic flame is a symbol of peace, of respect and of solidarity,” said Laporte. “Olympic values were a bit ridiculed today."

Chinese authorities condemned the attempts to sabotage the relay as "vile," according to the AFP news service.

In a speech to the Association of National Olympic Committees in Beijing, Monday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge said, "Violence for whatever reason is not compatible with the values of the torch relay and the Olympic Games."

Chinese media briefly mentions protests

China’s state-controlled CCTV only briefly mentioned disruptions in Paris, saying "Tibetan separatists" had tried to disrupt the relay. Chinese media reports spoke of "the warm welcome by Paris inhabitants, overseas Chinese and Chinese students."

While reports of the Paris disruptions made the news across the world, there were some supporters of the Chinese state media censorship within the Chinese diaspora. “It's a good thing that there is censorship because if not, Chinese people would end up getting very violent, especially against westerners,” wrote a FRANCE 24 Observer who moved from China to Canada six years ago.

Monday was the second day of protests during the 2008 Olympic torch relay. On Sunday, scuffles marred the Olympic torch relay in London, putting French authorities on alert for disruptions by pro-Tibet protesters. Paris police had deployed some 3,000 police officer in helicopters, on horseback and on roller blades for the final European leg of the relay.

Despite the security presence and the lessons from Sunday’s demonstrations in London, Kammourieh said Paris had gone even further, as protesters succeeding in disrupting the itinerary of the relay.

The Olympic flame will now fly to its next stop, San Francisco. It is expected to remain a magnet for anti-Chinese protests ahead of the games.

The flame is due to return to Beijing on Aug. 6, two days before it will be used to light the cauldron at the Olympic opening ceremony.OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Johann Hari: Boycotting the Beijing Olympics won't work, but

Johann Hari: Boycotting the Beijing Olympics won't work, but here's a proposal that just might
Independent, UK - Monday, 7 April 2008

On the streets of London, the Chinese dictatorship has just learned with a painful jab that their Olympic Slogan – "One World, One Dream" – is true. In every city the Olympic torch sashays through on its world tour, its greeting is the same. Tibetans wave their banned flag and grieve for their freshly-slaughtered countrymen. Falun Gong refugees hold aloft pictures of their co-believers who have vanished into China's vast "re-education camps". Darfuris cry for an end to the massacres against them backed from Beijing. And ordinary people line the streets to support them. Yes, they all have One Dream: an end to human rights abuses.

But aren't the Olympics meant to be apolitical, one of the few places where we can gather and leave our ideologies at the door? Yes. But it is not the protesters who politicised the Olympics; it is the Chinese Communist dictatorship. As the leading Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng – who taught himself law in a shack in Shaanxi Province – explained last year: "The Chinese Communist regime sees the hosting of the Olympics as political. They are using it to prove to the Chinese people that the world is still acknowledging the party as a legal government, despite all the suppressive and bloody tyranny, and all the horrible crimes against humanity the Party has committed."

(Shortly after he issued this warning, Gao "disappeared", as so many Chinese human rights activists do. With this move, the Chinese government proved his point.)

The protesters are simply trying to stop the Chinese dictatorship from continuing to wave the Olympics as a bogus global seal of approval for their cruel rule. Now they are asking: how do we keep disrupting the 100-metres propaganda sprint that takes us up to August? Should there be a boycott of Beijing?

So far, the discussion has focused on one very narrow sliver of the Games: whether our political leaders should attend the opening ceremony. But this is looking in the wrong direction. Our politicians are not the people to take a moral stand on our behalf. Not only are many soaked in the blood of innocents themselves; worse, last year, they actually used their power to lobby hard against a major extension of human rights in China.

Here's how it happened. The Chinese government was being battered by industrial unrest, across the country's factories and mines. There were more than 300,000 industrial protests in 2006, because ordinary Chinese people were sick of being paid artificially low wages and seeing their colleagues lose limbs in shrieking machinery just to provide us with ultra-cheap goods. So the Chinese dictatorship decided – through gritted teeth – to allow ordinary Chinese citizens to form trade unions. It was an extraordinary gasp of freedom, allowing political organisations to be formed across the country.

Our governments panicked. The mighty business lobbies told them – in more polite language – that if Chinese workers are not lashed into submission, they will start demanding more wages, and to make their workplaces safe. That means lower profits for "our" businesses and higher prices at our tills. So the US and European governments lobbied the Communist Party hard against upholding this basic right. Our leaders stood up for unfreedom, and won. The law was ditched. We still get to shop until Chinese workers drop. How can those same leaders pop up a year later and posture about greater rights in China?

But one of the great things about the Olympics is that we aren't represented by our politicians. We are represented by ordinary citizens, who happen to be extraordinarily brilliant athletes. They are untainted by the fetid calculations of geopolitics and corporate corruption. They can speak for basic human values – if they choose to.

So far, the discussion of a sporting boycott has also stalled, because people assume there are only two options. Either we go along passively and smile into the Communist propaganda-camera, or we stay away until the distant day when China is a multiparty democracy with a First Amendment protecting free speech.

There is another way. Our athletes can offer the Chinese government a deal. We will happily take part – provided you meet three simple, practical conditions. Follow this checklist, and your international coming-out party will go swimmingly.

First: release China's 10 greatest human rights activists. Top of the list is the Chinese hero Hu Jia. He is a 34-year-old father rotting in jail because he campaigned for the rights of Aids victims, and against the environmental destruction spreading across the country. We're going to need Chinese allies like him in the years to come, as the Great Leap Backwards of global warming intensifies.

Second: invite the Dalai Lama to Beijing, and talk to him. Just talk. When I met the Dalai Lama a few years ago, he said he would do it. This is in China's interests too: the younger generation of Tibetans coming up behind him are less prepared to offer up the other cheek for a kicking. Israel has learned the hard way that if you react to largely peaceful protests against occupation – like the first Intifada of the 1980s – with beatings and bullets, you face rockets and suicide-bombers further down the line. China still has a chance to stop that shift – just.

Third: allow a real UN peacekeeping force into Darfur. Since 2003, the Chinese government has been covering at the UN for the genocidal Sudanese government, in return for full access to the country's oil. They will only vote for a peacekeeping force if the Sudanese government – the murderers – retains the right to veto the arrival of any troops. As the limping, bloodied people of Darfur told me last summer as they filed across the border, this Chinese clause makes peace impossible.

And finally, allow us to set up a website that breaks through the Great Firewall of China, explaining why we have laid down these conditions.

If the athletes of the free(ish) world unite behind these demands, there is a significant chance the Chinese government will meet them. The embarrassment of their multi-billion-dollar phallus flopping before the world may well trump the embarrassment of conceding on these three issues.

If we are going to ask the Olympics athletes to risk something they have worked their whole lives for, we have to offer them something hefty. A noble but ineffective moral gesture won't do it. But with this proposal, we can say – imagine: you could play a part in getting the Dalai Lama to Beijing, a proper peace-force into Darfur, and 10 heroic men and women into freedom, or go down trying. We have four months to persuade them this is worth making a stand for.

Before being sent to his dungeon, Ha Jin wrote, "When you come to the Olympic Games in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. You may not know that the flowers, smiles and prosperity are built on a base of tears, imprisonment, torture and blood." Ha was prepared to risk his life to tourniquet this flow of his countrymen's blood. Are we really not even prepared to take a calculated, calibrated risk with the Olympics?


OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Human Rights Freedom Torch Relay arrives in San Francisco

Fog City

Author and professional basketball player Kai Chen, former Olympian John Carlos
and San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly hoist the Human Rights Freedom Torch
in Union Sqaure Saturday following a peaceful rally aimed at drawing attention
to documented human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese goverment.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

April 6, 2008

As many as 500 protestors gathered in Union Square Satuday to welcome the arrival of the Human Rights Freedom Torch Relay to San Francisco.

Groups opposed to the Chinese government’s documented human rights abuses in China, Tibet, Burma and Darfur participated in the peaceful rally.

“The Human Rights Freedom Torch Relay has been organized to send a message to the Chinese government - we don’t agreee what’s going in China. Not everything is fine there,” Maria Daly, a local coordinator for the torch relay told Fog City Journal.

“It’s a very serious situation,” Maria Daly added.

The Human Rights Freedom Torch Relay began in Athens, Greece in August 2007 after the Chinese government failed to respond to a letter drafted by The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) which had requested an investigation into charges of torture and state-sanctioned organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners.

The torch relay has since spanned five continents drawing international attention and condemnation of the Chinese governemnt’s oppressive regime, Maria Daly said.

Arriving from the City of San Jose, the torch was carried by Kai Chen - a professional basketball player in China and author of One in a Billion - to Union Square where it was received by Supervisor Chris Daly and former Olympian John Carlos.

After a brief stop in Union Square, Carlos continued the torch relay to downtown San Francisco along Market Street.

Earlier during the rally, Supervisor Daly who authored a non-binding resolution passed by an 8-3 vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday, said, “We have a moral obligation to speak out because unlike the President of the United State and the Mayor of San Francisco - both have continued along with representatives of the Chinese government - we cannot divorce the Olympic Games from politics.”

“We’d rather the internet not be blocked… we’d rather the government of China not support genocide in Darfur… we’d rather not prop up a brutal dictatorship in Burma… but we know that these things are happening,” Supervisor Daly continued.

The Human Rights Freedom Torch Relay is one of three torch events passing through San Francisco. On Tuesday, The Tibeten Freedom Torch will pass through San Francisco and on Wednesday the official Olympic torch will make its way through the city known for its willingness to take a stand against injustice wherever it may occur.

Video coverage by Josh Wolf

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OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Real China and the Olympics: Hu JIa et al

By Hu Jia and Teng Biao
Saturday, April 5, 2008; Page A15

Washington Post: This week, a Beijing court sentenced human rights activist Hu Jia to 3 1/2 years in prison for subverting state authority and to one additional year's loss of his "political rights." He was arrested in part for co-authoring, with Teng Biao, an open letter on human rights. Below, The Post printsHuman Rights Watch's translation of the Sept. 10, 2007, letter.

...China has the world's largest secret police system, the Ministry of National Security (guo an) and the Internal Security Bureau (guo bao) of the Ministry of Public Security, which exercise power beyond the law. They can easily tap telephones, follow citizens, place them under house arrest, detain them and impose torture. On June 3, 2004, the Chinese secret police planted drugs on Chongqing dissident Xu Wanping and later sentenced him to 12 years' imprisonment for "subversion of state power."

Chinese citizens have no right to elect state leaders, local government officials or representatives. In fact, there has never been free exercise of election rights in township-level elections. Wuhan resident Sun Bu'er, a member of the banned political party the Pan-Blue Alliance, was brutally beaten in September 2006 for participating as an independent candidate during an election of county-level people's congress representatives. Mr. Sun disappeared on March 23, 2007.

China continues to cruelly discriminate against its rural population. According to the Chinese election law, a farmer's right to vote is worth one quarter of that of an urban resident. In June 2007, the Shanxi kiln scandal was exposed by the media. Thousands of 8- [to-]13[-]year-old trafficked children had been forced to labor in illegal kilns, almost all with local government connections. Many of the children were beaten, tortured and even buried alive.

The Chinese judiciary still illegally forbids any HIV/AIDS lawsuits against government officials responsible for the tragedy. AIDS sufferers and activists have been constantly harassed by the secret police.

The Chinese government has been selling arms and weapons to Darfur and other African regions to support ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The Chinese authorities have forcibly repatriated North Korean refugees, knowing that they would be sent to labor camps or executed once back home. This significantly contravenes China's accession to the "Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees" and the "Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees."

· Please be aware that the Olympic Games will be held in a country where there are no elections, no freedom of religion, no independent courts, no independent trade unions; where demonstrations and strikes are prohibited; where torture and discrimination are supported by a sophisticated system of secret police; where the government encourages the violation of human rights and dignity, and is not willing to undertake any of its international obligations.

· Please consider whether the Olympic Games should coexist with religious persecution[,] labor camps, modern slavery, identity discrimination, secret police and crimes against humanity.

As the Beijing Olympics slogan says, we live in "one world" with "one dream." We hope that one day the Chinese people will be able to share universal human rights, democracy and peace with people from all around the world. However, we can see that the Chinese government obviously is not yet prepared to honor its promise. As a matter of fact, the preparations for the Olympics have provided the perfect excuse for the Chinese government to restrict civil liberties and suppress human rights!

We do not want China to be contained or isolated from the rest of the world. We believe that only by adhering to the principles of human rights and through open dialogue can the world community pressure the Chinese government to change. Ignoring these realities and tolerating barbaric atrocities in [the] name of the Beijing Olympics will disgrace the Olympic Charter and shake the foundations of humanity. Human rights improvement requires time, but we should at least stop China's human rights situation from deteriorating. Having the Olympics hosted in a country where human dignity is trampled on will not honor its people or the Olympic Games.

We sincerely hope that the Olympic Games will bring the values of peace, equality, freedom and justice to 1.3 billion Chinese citizens. We pray that the Olympics will be held in a free China. We must push for the 2008 Olympics to live up to the Olympic Charter[,] and we must advocate for the realization of "one world" with "one human rights dream." We believe that only an Olympic Games true to the Olympic Charter can promote China's democratic progress, world peace and development.

We firmly hold to the belief that there can be no true Olympic Games without human rights and dignity. For China and for the Olympics, human rights must be upheld! (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Boycott the Games

Edward McMillan-Scott

April 4, 2008 2:00 PM - This weekend, the Olympic flame will be paraded through London but the lympic spirit died in the streets of Tibet. Beijing, by the definition of the Convention, is responsible for genocide in Tibet, in Darfur and because of religious repression, in China itself.

Amnesty International and most other NGOs agree that the human rights situation is getting worse in China because of the Olympics. Sport and politics do mix - in Article One of the Olympic Charter (pdf) which speaks
of "universal fundamental ethical principles".

Many politicians have still not come to terms with China, the terror state. Gordon Brown has said he will go to the games. I believe in private he must be dithering about his position. President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel
have not ruled out a boycott, and Nancy Pelosi has begged President Bush to stay at home. Many in the European parliament believe it is no longer whether there should be a boycott but what sort of boycott.

The protesters in Tibet are about to discover the penalty for opposing the Beijing regime. Elsewhere, the eco-campaigner Hu Jia has been convicted of subversion and jailed for three-and-a-half years. His only crime was to talk to foreigners - he contributed live from his Beijing flat to a couple of my press conferences, calling for a boycott of the Olympics. His friend Gao Zhisheng, the Christian human rights attorney who studied the brutal
crackdown of Falun Gong practitioners, has disappeared again from his house arrest. In an open letter to me in September he condemns Olympic corruption. Ai Weiwei, the designer of the Olympic stadium, is boycotting because of the "disgusting" political conditions in his own country. The sponsor of the web-based "We want human rights, not the Olympics" campaign in China itself, Jang Chunlin, has just been sent away for five years.

I have been campaigning in private for my reformist friends in China and in public for a debate about a boycott because of internal human rights since my last visit to China in May 2006. All those with whom I had contact -
reformers, dissidents, ex-prisoners of conscience - were arrested, imprisoned and in some cases tortured, even to this day.

As the founder of the EU's £100m democracy and human rights programme I was trying to gauge its capacity to work in the world's largest country, and its biggest tyranny. There is universal acknowledgment in the human rights
community that the situation in China is worse than it was in 2001, when China was awarded the games by a hopeful IOC - the most political decision since its 1964 boycott of South Africa because of apartheid.

The European parliament has unanimously adopted a resolution expressing "serious concern" about human rights in China and asking the IOC to make its own assessment of Beijing's compliance with its 2001 promises.

The techniques of repression in the name of the Chinese Communist party are so effective that, while PR company Hill and Knowlton is teaching 84 key Beijing spokesmen how to lie about them, China is selling the same
techniques to other tyrannies around the world, from Burma to Sudan to Zimbabwe.

Harry Wu, the noted dissident, now runs the US-based Laogai Research Foundation. He estimates that China's prison camps hold nearly seven million people under forced labour, detention without trial and torture. Manfred
Nowak, the UN's torture rapporteur, says it "remains widespread in China".

I have met many survivors of torture in China's camps. They tell of the progression from brainwashing and sleep deprivation to months of standing 20 hours a day motionless, then immersion in excrement, then beatings and
electronic goads to the genitals. The husband of Zhang Lianying told me she was beaten black and blue and had lost her sight and hearing as she was tortured to renounce her faith.

Although not religious myself, I sense that in China as in Soviet Europe, religion will play a part in change. This is the view also of attorney Gao Zhisheng. Those belonging to banned groups like Falun Gong are non-persons.
There is a list of 3,000 practitioners of this blameless Buddha-school spiritual movement who have died under torture since repression against their 70-100 million adherents began in 1999. Nowak and Zhisheng have told
me the majority of forced re-education victims are practitioners.

One young ex-prisoner - Cao Dong - told me at a secret meeting in Beijing that his buddy disappeared from their cell one evening (shared, incidentally, with several Tiananmen Square protesters). Next, he saw his friend's cadaver in the prison hospital with holes where body parts had been extracted. There have been 40,000 "extra" organ transplants in China since the persecution of Falun Gong began - the only prisoners to be routinely
blood-tested. It is likely that they are literally being killed to order.

Cao Dong was later convicted for meeting me, a "distinguished foreigner" and re-imprisoned. Last month Beijing officially told the EU the name of the prison where he is being held. I knew that already, as well as the names of
those torturing him today and their superiors. I was watching and now, thanks to the boycott campaign, the world is watching China too. I am not alone in drawing a connection between the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the
Beijing games.

As US supreme court judge Felix Frankfurter said in 1942 after hearing Jan Karski's testimony about the Nazi death camps: "I did not say that this young man was lying; I said that I could not believe what he was telling me.
There is a difference." It is time for the democratic world to stand up and be counted.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Why China's Olympics is Good for Tibet, Darfur, and Puppies and Kittens

Rebecca NovickHP: 'The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle'.
- Pierre de Coubertin, Founder of the modern Olympic Games

Seven years ago, I was nursing a sunburn in a tent on a sidewalk outside the offices of the Vice President of the United States Olympic Committee in a rough neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles. I was one of a handful of activists there to protest the 2008 Summer Olympics being handed to Beijing.

When the verdict came down in favor of China, it felt like a low point in the struggle for human rights. Little did we know back then that these Olympics would become a lightening rod for social causes across the planet--from human rights to animal rights, to labor rights and the environment. The Beijing Olympics has engaged and inspired activists like never before, and made activists out of those who were only sideline sympathizers. It is simply the best thing to have happened to the Tibetan cause in 50 years. And I find myself asking, 'What were we thinking?' But as long time Tibet activist, Tseten Phanucharas says, "It was important to protest then, and it's important to grasp the opportunity now."

The opportunity now is loaded with potential. The Olympics is good for Tibet, and Darfur, and puppies and kittens, but not for the reasons that the IOC thinks. IOC president Jacques Rogge buoyantly proclaimed his conviction that the Olympic Games "will improve human rights in China". But it seems the opposite is true. Amnesty International is reporting that China's human rights record has actually deteriorated since being awarded the Games as it engages in a pre-Olympic Spring-cleaning of potential troublemakers.

The IOC said that the Olympics would open China up. It's opened China up all right--not to a relaxation of their repressive policies, but to the scrutiny and attention of the free world. And this is what is creating pressure for change in China. It's thanks to the journalists on the front line of our much-maligned media, and the bureau chiefs at CNN, BBC, Reuters and AP, who are bringing the stories to our attention that then creates public pressure on politicians to act.

And, now, like a scenario dreamed up by Human Rights Inc., the torch is being carried across the continents of the globe, looking less like a glowing beacon of the human spirit than a symbol of violence and repression. The torch's journey is igniting protests, discussion and debate, and shedding even more light on the issues that China would rather ignore (including the grievances of middle-American blue collar workers who are waking up to find their jobs have relocated to Jiangsu).

And carrying the torch is feeling, well.... icky. The captain of India's national soccer team has refused to carry it, as has a disabled British comedienne. It's getting harder to find people who want to touch the thing. San Francisco's Board of Supervisors have said that the city will receive the torch in a spirit of "alarm and protest"--not exactly the reaction China had in mind, I'm guessing.

Separating politics from the 2008 Beijing Games will be like trying to separate heat from fire. Who is going to watch the opening ceremonies in August and not think about Chinese police firing live ammunition into crowds of Tibetan monks, or the torture of prisoners, or the horrors of Darfur, or the muzzling of journalists?

Tibetans know that this is their year; that the Olympics have given them a once in a lifetime opportunity to be heard among the ka-ching! of trade interests that always seems to drown out the calls for freedom and decency. The IOC has repeatedly said that it doesn't want to involve itself in politics. It keeps talking about something called the "Olympic spirit". But in trying to crush the human spirit, it is China's leaders who have made the Games political. And they couldn't have done a better job.

Rebecca Novick is the Executive Producer of The Tibet Connection radio program thetibetconnection.org

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

The Shame Game Olympics

Stuff NZ: A broad coalition of professional activists, anarchists and freelance stirrers is rolling out a series of shaming campaigns intended to fuel the cacophony of complaint against China's hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games.

In addition to the usual physical displays of opposition, the groups are ramping up a powerful online presence that includes the use of the big three social networking sites - MySpace, Facebook and YouTube - plus an array of widgets, podcasts, blogs and other Web-based weapons of persuasion and subversion.

The agitators include long-time China critics such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Free Tibet Campaign plus a host of smaller activist groups covering the entire gamut of anti-Beijing causes including Darfur, Burma, workers' rights, animal rights, pro-democracy and the death penalty.

Their common aim is to drown out China's attempts to use the Olympics as a celebration of its coming of age as a modern economic powerhouse and refocus international attention on the many skeletons that rattle around in the regime's closets. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

VIDEO: Exclusive Beijing Olympics Live Coverage

Exclusive Beijing Olympics Live Coverage
2008-03-01 13:10:00
If you want to host this video, it's available on YouTube or DailyMotion.

But over at The SubRealism Manifesto website, a group of freelance anarchists has published a wicked video parody in which "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" becomes the bloodied, crime scene chalk outline of a dissident who has been chased and mowed down by a tank.

2008-03-01 13:10:00
If you want to host this video, it's available on YouTube or DailyMotion.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Meet Nu Wa 怒娃: AI

Amnesty Int. AU: 22 March 2008

Like the monkey in traditional Chinese culture, “Nu Wa” – the Uncensor China campaign mascot – is strong willed, cheeky, energetic, sporting and intelligent. Nu Wa, means outraged, angry young boy.

Nuwa’s name creates an association with the “Fuwa” – the five official mascots of the Beijing Olympics. Fuwa means “The Friendlies”. Their overly happy and cute demeanor defies the worsening human rights situation inside china today. Nu Wa wants to set the record straight by speaking about the human rights abuses suffered by people in China.

Nu Wa's favorite accessory, a red bandana, was worn by many during the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

Gagged by his own bandana, Nu Wa symbolises the silencing of Chinese human rights defenders who are imprisoned or otherwise detained.

Nu Wa’s broken heart symbolises the grief and suffering of families and individuals affected by human rights abuse in China, and sadness that the Government is not enacting the reforms it has promised.

Back to Uncensor home

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ahead of Olympics, Beijing Crackdown Extends to Falun Gong Followers

Nishika Patel | 01 Apr 2008
World Politics Review Exclusive WPR

HONG KONG -- As Beijing cracks down on protestors in Tibet in the run up to the Olympics, adherents of Falun Gong -- a banned religious movement that draws from Buddhism and Taoism -- are also facing the heavy hand of the Communist regime.

Falun Gong members claim Chinese authorities are stepping up their crackdown on the group, branded an "evil cult" by Beijing, by using Olympic security as an "excuse."

In early March, the U.S.-based Falun Dafa Information Center announced that 1,878 practitioners from 29 provinces had been arrested since January 2008 and that cash rewards of up to $360 were being offered by the government to identify members.

Followers believe the recent arrests were triggered by a secret order issued by former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang to provincial security forces in February this year. According to Amnesty International, the order was couched as crucial to "successfully" holding the Olympic Games.

"We must strike hard at hostile forces at home and abroad, such as ethnic separatists, religious extremists, violent terrorists and . . . the Falun Gong," Zhou ordered, according to an Amnesty International translation of the document.

"The Olympics seem to have given the Beijing regime a new incentive, and excuse, to hasten its abuses of citizens' rights. The arrests make a mockery of the regime's promise to improve its dismal record on human rights," said Erping Zhang of the the Falun Dafa Information Center, which collected the details of the arrests.

Dozens of members have been rounded up from Beijing's Chaoyang District, which will host the beach volleyball and tennis events, and the city's Shunyi district, the site of the Olympic rowing and kayaking venues. About 156 followers were seized in Beijing alone, the center claims.

In some cities, announcements of cash rewards are posted in neighborhood administration offices or Web sites run by the security bureau.

The systematic nature of the arrests suggests that the authorities are using a previously compiled list of local followers, Falun Gong adherents say.

There is a widespread fear for the lives and safety of the arrested members, who are thought to have been sent to re-education labor camps until after the end of the Olympics. Some were arrested in their workplaces or homes for holding Falun Gong literature.

The arrest, disappearance and torture of Falun Gong members has been widely reported by human rights groups. Seven years after landmark protests in Tiananmen Square in 1999, a two-month investigation by a former Canadian Secretary of State and a Canadian human rights lawyer concluded that the organs of some arrested Falun Gong members had been harvested.

Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa spokesman Kan Hung-cheung told World Politics Review that the increased arrests of practitioners is part of a drive to "stamp out'' the movement. Falun Gong members say the government's effort to eradicate the movement began in 1999 under former president Jiang Zemin, who they say vowed to accomplish that goal in three months.

"The Falun Gong will be in deep trouble over the next few months," said political commentator James Sung Lap-kung of Hong Kong City University. "Beijing considers the Falun Gong to be a partner in the recent Tibet riots. As the Olympics draw closer, Beijing will be trying to identify dangerous forces that are planning to jeopardize the Games."

But Kan said the recent arrests will not scare or deter practitioners from "telling the world the truth."

"Falun Gong is the first target of Beijing because it is so afraid that we will tell people the truth about the persecution, even though we are peaceful," he said. "In the run up to the Olympics we won't miss the chance to tell people about our suffering, including those from other countries. But this doesn't mean we will disrupt any activities of the Olympics.''

There are no firm plans for the group to protest in Beijing during the Olympics. Instead they will work with their foreign members to contact Western governments, parliament members and human rights groups to pressure Beijing.

The Human Rights Torch Relay, a global campaign to call attention to human rights abuses in China, has already started its journey to 40 countries and 150 cities. And recent events in Tibet are likely to make the government even more anxious of critical voices.

"Tibet shows the violence exercised by the Chinese Communist Party and that they will use bloodshed to stop the uprising of the Tibetans," said Kan. "The CCP won't let go of their power,'' said Kan.

The suppression of the Falun Gong began soon after the movement first sprung to life in 1992. It soon became a thorn in the side of the Communist regime, which saw the group's estimated 100 million members worldwide as a threat to their socialist ideology and to the Communist Party. According to party sources, the Chinese Communist Party has about 70 million members, about the same number of members Falun Gong claims in China.

Chinese state-run media has played a significant role in the Chinese government's campaign to discredit the movement.

Chinese media reports made much of an incident in Tiananmen Square in 2001, when some supposed Falun Gong members immolated themselves in front of a CNN camera crew. Later investigations by Western media outlets cast doubt on Chinese government claims that the suicide victims were members of Falun Gong, raising suspicions in some circles that the event had been staged as propaganda.

The Falun Gong has also been ridiculed for belief in the supernatural and aliens, as well as claims by its founder Li Hongzhi that he can perform miracle cures and levitate. Li is now living in exile in New York.

But the group says their beliefs are based on the principles of self-improvement, meditation and good health.

Asked if Falun Gong members have grown angry by years of persecution and the recent arrests, Kan said, "We do not have the concept of angry. We practice on the principle of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance -- even if they torture or beat us we will use every means to arouse their consciousness to tell them not to persecute us.

"The world does not know what has happened inside China," he added. "Jiang Zemin claimed that he would destroy us within three months, but now almost nine years have passed and we are still here."

Nishika Patel is a Hong Kong-based journalist.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Video: Toronto Chinese Rally Turns Ugly

Participants heckle Tibetans: 'Leave Canada.' Mayor's China trip questioned

By Jason Loftus
Mar 30, 2008

This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)
This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)

TORONTO—A rally that was billed as promoting "anti-violence" turned hostile on Saturday as flag-waving Chinese denounced Tibetans who they blamed for the recent turmoil in Tibet in which 100 are said to have died.

Close to 1000 Chinese were in Toronto's Dundas Square for the afternoon event, many of them students.

"Dalai Lama die there!" some Chinese shouted at a group of Tibetans who had gathered across the street from the square to protest. "Leave Canada!" others urged.

Tibetans say the Chinese rally, which began orderly, was designed to incite hate against them.

The event was promoted in Chinese-language press as a rally to tell the "truth" about Tibet and "safeguard the reunification of the motherland."

Several major Chinese-language media outlets in Canada have parroted the Chinese communist regime's line on Tibet, blaming the turmoil on the Dalai Lama and his followers and fanning a nationalist animosity toward Tibetans. ( Read more )

The rally began with a parade of speeches repeating the Chinese regime's line on Tibet: that it has long been part of China, that the Chinese government spent millions trying to help the Tibetan people, and that Tibetan monks and youths led violent protests in Lhasa recently that caused death and suffering of Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in China.

The speeches were interspersed with patriotic Chinese songs. No mention was made of police violence used to quash the protests, nor of the Tibetan grievances that experts say sparked the initially peaceful protests in Lhasa.

China has helped Tibetans "protect, spread, and develop" their culture, said one speaker.

An organizer who spoke in English claimed the Chinese regime had "helped Tibetan people to improve human rights" by making them literate.

"People were just blind faith to believe in their religion," he said. "They were controlled."

The rally became dramatic when a Tibetan refugee took to the stage waving a Tibetan flag. He was seized by a group of Chinese who dragged him away before police intervened to separate them.

This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)
This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)

After the incident, the man spoke with The Epoch Times. In tears, he described the suffering of Tibetans under communist rule, explaining that he left Tibet 10 years ago and came to Canada only recently. The man said Toronto Mayor David Miller should reconsider a planned trip to China next month amid the ongoing repression in Tibet by the communist regime.

Angry Chinese turned on the Tibetan protesters, hollering "Dalai Lama die there!" "Dalai Lama lies!" "Liars, liars!" and "Leave Canada!"

This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)
This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)

They also sang communist party songs.

Police detained one man after he charged across a busy street to where the Tibetans were protesting, waving a large Chinese flag. He was identified as University of Toronto student Yang Shao by other students in the square.

Police at Toronto's 52 Division said the man had been released and no charges had been laid.

A spokesperson for the city office that oversees the Dundas Square said earlier this week that he didn't believe the group organizing Saturday's event would be spreading hate.

Patrick Carnegie, the square's manager of programming and events, said there were rules that governed how the square is to be used, including not belittling any identifiable group and conveying messages only in a positive way.

Any group can use the space "as long as they do so in a safe manner that is in accordance to the bylaws," Mr. Carnegie said.

According to Mr. Carnegie, the event had been approved as a "Love China Concert." When The Epoch Times pointed out that even English-language flyers for the event suggested the rally tended to lay blame for the violence on the Tibetans, he said the group was expected to follow the rules.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

The torch "of peace" sets out, with Beijing up in arms

AsiaNews.it:From the Chinese capital, the flame of the Olympic torch will travel to 20 countries, for a total of 137 thousand kilometres. The government is drawing up a list of its six most dangerous enemies, and is preparing to fight them. A United States activist warns: the leadership is ready to sacrifice the Olympics in order to maintain national security.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The torch "of peace and harmony", the symbol of the Chinese Olympics, is preparing for an armoured voyage worthy of a nuclear warhead. The communist government, according to anonymous sources, is concerned about the possibility of anti-Chinese demonstrations in the various cities involved in the tour (the longest in history), and is ready to fight to avoid these. In the meantime, a leading expert on Chinese society warns: "Beijing is ready to do anything to safeguard its national security, even if this draws the condemnation of the world upon it".

According toward Hong Kong newspaper, the BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympics) security department has drawn up a list of six organisations or ethnic groups that represent a threat to the torch's journey, which begins tomorrow and will cross 20 nations, for a total of 137 thousand kilometres. A source inside the department explains: "These groups have very strong ties to the nations involved, and they are ready to do anything to disrupt the peaceful unfolding of the itinerary".

The most "dangerous" are: the members of Falun Gong, a spiritual group with about 100 million adherents (according to the group's own estimate), which China considers demonic and persecutes ferociously; the Tibetans; the supporters of Darfur; and those who support the Burmese monks against the military junta of Yangon, which is very close to the Chinese leadership. The destinations most at risk include the United States city of San Francisco, where the Olympic flame will arrive on April 9.

The demonstrators who have gathered for this event are motivated by so many factors that they are considering the possibility of dressing in different colours according to the groups to which they belong, in order to guarantee that their own message reaches its destination. To stop them, the members of the security department - which includes policeman, secret service agents, and military personnel - have prepared foot patrols, interventions, and operations of "preventive dissuasion".

But all of this does not imply that China wants to give an inch with regard to national security. John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation in the United States, has been working for years with the communist authorities in order to reach compromises on the situation of political detainees in the Chinese prisons. On this question, he says China "will sacrifice the Olympics to preserve national security. The government is adopting a hard position on Tibet. A senior official told me that any signs of concession would be seen as signs of weakness"

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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