Sunday, January 28, 2007

Open Letter to IOC re: Tibet Shooting

Sign your protest letter to Jacques Rogge here.

Jacques Rogge
President International Olympic Committee
Chateau De Vidy
Case Postale 356
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland
Fax: +41-21-621-6216

Dear Mr. Jacques Rogge:

I would like to express my horror about the recent shooting of Tibetan refugees by the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP). It is high time that the IOC understands that silence on the situation in Tibet will leave a stain on the Olympic movement as a whole.

The shooting, which resulted in the death of Kelsang Namtso, a seventeen-year-old nun, and the injury of 20-year-old Kunsang Namgyal, happened as 71 refugees (excluding two guides) were preparing to cross the glaciated Nangpa La, an 18,753 ft. pass close to Everest base camp on September 30, 2006. Twenty-nine refugees were arrested after continuing to flee, including 14 children - the youngest of which is five years old.

I strongly believe, as history demonstrates, that such outrageous incidents will repeat as long as the Chinese occupation of Tibet is not solved in a peaceful way.

The IOC will become morally bankrupt if it continues to keep quiet on the issue of Tibet and does not use its influence on the Chinese government in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics to have Beijing resolve the long-standing issue of Tibet.

Therefore, I urge you to immediately make Beijing aware that it is unacceptable to the Olympic movement and the international community for it - the 2008 Olympic host country - to continue to brutally suppress the right of the Tibetan people.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

China bans Year of the Pig ads to 'show respect to Muslims'

CCTV is putting up a front and showing tolerance toward the Muslims while they brutally murdered 18 Muslim Uyghurs in the beginning of January--the real number is probably higher. What next? Allow lawyers to practise law or even better, allow Falun Gong to do their Tai Chi freely? Hmmm...

When the Lunar Year of the Pig is fast approaching, China's largest state-owned CCTV recently received an order from the government that prohibits airing of any TV ads that contains images of the pig. This is a measures aims to avoid offending the Muslims in China, in order to "protect the harmony between different religions and ethnic groups". (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Christians under Attack in China

Frederick W. Stakelbeck Jr. is bang on in his assessment of religious freedom in China or the lack thereof as he elaborates on recent beatings and arrests.

Front Page Mag Excerpt: But in typical Beijing fashion, Chinese President Hu Jintao’s government has clamped down on religious dissidents, viewing a rise in spirituality as a threat to its authority and power. Corinna-Barbara Francis, an East Asia researcher at Amnesty International, says there's evidence persecution of dissidents has increased. “There's been a serious crackdown on a whole range of human rights defenders in China already," Francis said this month. In particular, China’s approximately 25 million Christians, a group including both Protestants and Roman Catholics, have become the focus of Beijing’s increasing resentment and suspicion

International law notes that freedom of belief is not a right to be granted by the state, but a practice that is to be protected by the state. Beijing continues to follow a policy of telling the world what it wants to hear so that it will get what it wants – so far, that policy has worked perfectly. But in time, the country’s leadership will need to recognize and accept religion as an integral part of Chinese culture; otherwise, it will face a national revolution that even Chairman Mao would find hard to suppress. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tibetan Youth conclude cycle protest against 2008

The cyclists have shown much determination through this challenging rally which will hopefully have a positive impact on the IOC. Keep up the fight for freedom guys ! Sign here for the boycott.

“Whether the world is listening to what we are doing or not but we will not stop with our struggle. These kind of movement will go on. And through non-violent direct action, we must continue to work for the call for justice and freedom and demand respect for human rights in Tibet”. (more)
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sunday, January 14, 2007

No economic development in China: Guy Sorman

After spending some time in China with the peasants, author Guy Sorman exposes his views about China’s economy and greed for power in his new book entitled Year of the Rooster. A must read.

Excerpt: In a scathing attack on the Communist Party, he says the first objective of the Party is to stay in power; the second is to make its members grow rich.

"The Chinese abhor the corruption of the Party cadres and do not view them as custodians of a laudable tradition."

Whether China will see the third revolution, Mr Sorman answers the question in the context of the 2008 Olympic Games to be held in Beijing.

"The Communist Party, dependent as it is on foreign investors, is pinning all its hopes on these Games: if they go off successfully, it will be a consecration of the Party. On the other hand, there is the constant fear of some untoward incident (revolt, epidemic, etc), bringing it into disrepute." (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Rights Group Says Conditions in China Worsen as Olympics Near

Beijing was quick to deny Human Rights Watch’s recent report for the year of 2006 by saying that 'Human Rigths Watch's criticism is biased, untrue'. China to this day still considers their human rights condition to be ‘domestic affairs’ and respectfully asks for the rest of the world to bud out. Somebody please tell them that it doesn't work that way.

Now the burning question is: Should EU fill the leadership void on human rights because of this? I think they should especially if Royal wins the French presidency. Look here for more on that topic.

Here are some excerpts from news reports:

BEIJING, Jan. 12 — Human rights conditions in China deteriorated last year even as China sought to portray itself as an increasingly open, modern society ahead of the 2008 Olympics, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Friday. (more)

…..about 100 activists, lawyers, writers and academics subjected to police custody, house arrest, incommunicado confinement, pressure in their jobs and surveillance by plainclothes security forces, a new report by Human Rights Watch said. (more)

China: By pouring investment into countries guilty of widespread rights abuses, China put its own economic and political interests above the rights of mistreated citizens. Among such countries were Sudan and Zimbabwe. (more)

Human Rights Watch said that the fast-paced construction and redesign of Beijing's transportation system ahead of the Olympics had worsened some problems for residents of the capital, with many hundreds of thousands evicted from their family homes with inadequate compensation and no recourse to the legal system. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sunday, January 07, 2007

PBS: China from the Inside

An excellent PBS mini-series will be aired Jan. 10 (?) entitled “China From the Inside”. Don’t miss it.

The documentary explores the factors that make China the pressure cooker that it is and takes a long look at the dominance of the Chinese Communist Party and religious oppression. Look here for a preview and check your local listing here .

Excerpt: The four one-hour episodes of China from the Inside are:

Episode 1: Power and the People

How does the Communist Party exert control over 1.3 billion Chinese? Are village elections a chance for people to take a share in power? Can the Party end the rampant corruption and keep the people's trust? Chinese people, from farmer to Minister, speak frankly about the problems the country faces and the ways forward.

Episode 2: Women of the Country

China's women are argued over at their weddings and have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Now many are beginning to fight for their rights and their futures. This hour shows discrimination against Xinjiang's Muslim women, various hardships faced by Tibetan women, and the status of some of those who have left the countryside for factory work in the cities.

Episode 3: Shifting Nature

China's environment is in trouble, but solutions often seem as harsh as the problems. A third of the world uses water from China's rivers, but rapid industrialization and climate change have led to bad air, polluted rivers and dire water shortages. One "solution" that has received considerable media attention in the West is the channeling of water in the biggest hydraulic project in world history. While it has benefited nearly half a million people, relocation from dam areas is causing mammoth social upheaval.

Episode 4: Freedom and Justice

Religious worship in China is problematic for Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics separated from Vatican influence, the 40 million adherents of China's unofficial churches, and the Falun Gong. Civic problems include forced evictions, government cover-up of AIDS, corruption and land grabbing. Filmed in Tibetan temples, newspaper offices and a labor camp, this final episode asks: what are the limits of freedom -- and the threats to stability? (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, January 04, 2007

China Chokes On A Coal-Fired Boom

Despite all the bad publicity China has created due to its horrendous pollution problem, this has not inspired those folks one bit to reduce its poisonous sulphur emissions; on the contrary they are seriously expanding. The IOC slogan that China is the world's best listener doesn't hold at all.

Excerpt - Free Net Press: A great coal rush is under way across China on a scale not seen anywhere since the 19th century.

Its consequences have been detected half a world away in toxic clouds so big that they can seen from space, drifting across the Pacific to California laden with microscopic particles of chemicals that cause cancer and diseases of the heart and lung.

"People can't tolerate the pollution any longer but officials only care about their political achievements of hitting targets for growth. If this policy isn't stopped, China will become a land where there are only graves, no people."

Yet Beijing has proved unable to compel local leaders to spend money on filters that could cut sulphur emissions from smoke stacks by 95%. Nor will they buy new western technology for power stations, which could operate more cleanly and efficiently.

In the capital itself, however, authoritarian orders will ensure that athletes at the 2008 Olympics breathe freely: the worst coal-burning polluters have moved out and those that remain must shut for the duration of the Games. That pristine image will be a temporary illusion. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Hu Will Bask In Reflected Olympic Glory

How the Olympics can make China’s dictatorship stronger and look better is well captured in this enlightening piece from Forbes. Beijing’s new slogan : The rule of law is upon us -- China embraces the New Year with open mind and more accountable government … Hmm!

Forbes: Unlike almost all previous holders of the Olympics, China will not have adopted the democratic, pluralistic and free-market norms that have characterized the post-Cold War international consensus. Instead, Hu will attempt to demonstrate to the population at large that a one-party state with restricted civil liberties and a heavily protected economy can demand and receive the world's most prestigious sporting competition, thereby strengthening his position at home and abroad. (more)