Mickey Spiegel of Human Rights Watch is asking some hard questions on HR issues surrounding the Beijing Olympics and brings forward some tough recommendations. The IOC will soon have to live up to its rhetorics and high ideals and deliver the merchandise...so will Communist China...Hmmm.
Beijing 2008: “How will China’s pervasive censorship and control of domestic and international media and the Internet play out when thousands of international journalists descend on Beijing? How are the Olympic Games being used to justify the violent forced evictions of thousands of people from their homes? As international businesses reach out to the world’s largest consumer market, how do China’s restrictions on labor rights affect workers on the ground? Human Rights Watch hopes that the 2008 Olympics will be an impetus for China to demonstrate greater respect for the human rights guaranteed to all under international law."
So wrote Human Rights Watch on August 24, 2004, a few days before the city of Athens, host to the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, handed the Olympic flag to Beijing, the 2008 host city. During the intervening two years, as our concerns have deepened, we have continued to ask ourselves, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and China’s leadership the same questions.
Will there be censorship at the Bejing olympics?
...To date, the most specific guideline restricting media coverage of the 2008 Games is the Press Commission of the Chinese Olympic Committee’s insistence that it vet all requests to interview Chinese athletes (“China to Issue Regulation…”, 2006) .
The IOC has not been especially critical of China’s censorship with respect to the 2008 Games, thus lending credibility to Chinese authorities’ actions. In May 2005, Kevan Gosper, chair of the IOC press commission, suggested that foreign media should respect the way “China manages its communications.”...
Will olympic project workers have their rights protected ?
...But in September 2005 workers at the National Conference Center, an Olympic site, refused to leave the site after the sub-contractor they worked for was replaced, fearing that they would lose the three months’ wages owed them....
Will there be redress for forced evictions and inadequate compensations ?
...Given China’s weak record in this area, expectations of fairness from the system are low. In addition, victims are not to be allowed seek injunctions against demolitions but are restricted to seeking compensation if their homes are unlawfully or improperly destroyed (“China curbs courtaccess…”, 2005)... [more]