Thursday, December 21, 2006

Olympic Watch's letter to the National Olympic Committee

In a letter to the President of the National Olympic Committee, Olympic Watch Chairman, Jan Ruml, reminds the Committee to re-examine China’s poor human rights record and urges the IOC and BOCG officials to take action. Meanwhile look here for another long list of violations.

Olympic Watch Excerpt: As you probably know, the situation in China can hardly be described along these lines. According to all independent monitors, the People’s Republic of China continues to be among the grossest human rights violators in the world. To name just the most obvious violations:

• Executions in China are frequent, while international standards for fair trials are not observed. Until recently, executions were carried out in sports stadiums. While this practice seems to have changed, the Chinese government continues to execute more people than the rest of the world combined. Verified numbers for 2005 speak of 3,400 death sentences and 1,770 executions, while according to some Chinese sources the numbers may actually be as high as 10,000.

• Torture in China is “widespread”, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who had the opportunity to visit China in 2005 for the first time after years of obstruction from the government.

• The freedom of expression is violated. Despite promises of full press freedom by 2008, which the Beijing bidding committee made during the candidacy process, the Chinese government has in fact been tightening the control of the media and the internet in recent years. Dozens of journalists and internet activists are documented in prison.

• The government of the People’s Republic of China continues to deny talks about autonomy to the Tibetan people, as peacefully requested by the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama. The right to freedom of religion of Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims, and Chinese Christians and Falun Gong practitioners is violated.

• The continuing militarization in China is a threat to peace and democratic processes in Taiwan and elsewhere in East and South-East Asia.

• Human rights violations have taken place even in direct relation to the organization of the Games. 300,000 Beijing residents have been evicted, typically without proper compensation, for the sake of Olympic re-development of the city. Ye Guozhu, one of the evictees, has been sentenced to four years in prison for lawfully applying to organize a peaceful rally of the evictees.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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