Wednesday, March 21, 2007

China to stifle pre-Olympics 'hostile forces'

Beijing is right to be worried about the impact of the 'overseas forces' exploiting the Olympics to draw attention to their humanitarian causes. China's barbaric ways are not appreciated by the free world and should be stopped.

Telegraph UK by Richard Spencer: 21 March 2007 - BEIJING -- China's top security official insisted yesterday that tighter controls were needed to stop next year's Olympic Games from being disrupted by "hostile forces," including foreigners. The Washington Times, By Richard Spencer

When Beijing was awarded the games seven years ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the decision would help to bring greater freedom to China's politics. But since then, despite changes in the country forced on it by globalization and the Internet, there has been a crackdown on political opposition.

In the latest in a series of attempts to play down the chances of political liberalization, Zhou Yongkang, the minister for public security, said police should "defend political and social stability."

"We must strike hard at hostile forces both in and outside the nation," he said in a speech given Monday and published in the state press yesterday.

He went on to give a list of those the state now regards as its principal enemies. These included regular targets such as Falun Gong, the banned religious group whose sit-down protests in the past have triggered fear in the authorities, and "splitism and religious extremism."

This is a catch-all phrase for anyone supporting independence or greater autonomy for Tibet, Xinjiang or Taiwan. The government fears that free-Tibet campaigners in particular could use the games as an opportunity to boost international sympathy for their cause.

Tibetan activists and representatives of the Uighurs, the Muslim ethnic group that lives in Xinjiang, are regularly harassed and jailed, with well-documented claims of torture.

The reference to "hostile forces outside the nation" may refer to overseas supporters of these groups. But the government has also focused in the last two years on the role that international human rights and pro-democracy organizations played in "color revolutions" in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

He predicted that there would be more attempts to bring China into line with "international norms" on issues that are controversial overseas, such as the reeducation through labour system, a form of imprisonment without trial.

But Luo Gan, Mr Zhou's boss as the politburo member responsible for law and order, has stressed the priority given to maintaining "stability". In a speech last month he said the re-education through labour system should be "improved" and not scrapped. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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