Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Beijing Olympic Ideals Under Scrutiny

Would somebody tell the IOC what's going on in China? Former Australian Olympian swimmer Jan Becker is appalled at China's poor human rights record and is calling for a boycott.

Epoch Times: Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said Beijing's promises to improve human rights, made when it was bidding for the Olympics, have not been honoured.

"Thousands of people are executed every year after unfair trials; people are tortured in prisons and thrown in jail just for peacefully standing up for human rights. And the authorities continue to harass and imprison journalists and Internet users – hardly the 'complete media freedom' that the Government has spoken of," Ms Allen said.

"Unless basic human rights are urgently improved, China's gleaming Olympic stadiums will hide a brutal reality of injustice, execution, torture and repression," she said.

Last week, March 21, Chinese Minister for Public Security Zhou Yongkang announced that the authorities would "strike hard at hostile forces both in and outside the nation". According to the ABC, who reported the announcement, hostile forces are considered to be anyone with a spiritual practice outside state control or anyone supporting any form of autonomy for Taiwan, Xinjiang or Tibet.

Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett, who has expressed concern about Beijing's human rights violations on a number of occasions, said he was not calling for a boycott of the Olympics, but warned that it had "potential for it to get to that stage".

Speaking in the Australian Parliament late last year, Senator Bartlett said: "These are very serious human rights abuses in China, not just with regard to the organ-harvesting allegations, and I do not think we can rightly put them to one side because they are uncomfortable or difficult diplomatically.

"We need to look for ways to try to get more effective action to get improvements in this area." Senator Bartlett said. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008