Thursday, June 28, 2007

RWB: Launch of a new campaign about Beijing Olympics

Reporters without borders: letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge on eve of IOC meeting

28 June 2007 - On the eve of the International Olympic Committee session that it is due to take place in Guatemala City from 4 to 7 July, the press freedom organisation has written to IOC president Jacques Rogge.

The letter says: “Throughout the world, concern is growing about the holding of these Olympics, which have been taken hostage by a government that balks at taking action to guarantee freedom of expression and respect for the Olympic Charter’s humanistic values (. . .)

“You know better than anyone that the Chinese government and Communist Party attach the utmost importance to the success of the Olympic Games for their own sakes, but without keeping any of the promises they have made. Mr. President, it is not too late to get the Chinese organisers, who are for the most part also senior political officials, to release prisoners of conscience, reform repressive laws and end censorship.

“We expect firm action from you. It is time to say clearly to the Chinese authorities that the contempt with which they treat the international community is unacceptable. With the entire Olympic community gathered in Guatemala City, it is no longer time for timid, whispered comments. The hour has come for the IOC, through you, to speak clearly about the problems. Your demands will be heard and the Olympic movement will emerge strengthened from it.”

The letter concludes: “Mr. President, we do not doubt your commitment to freedom of expression. We believe that your convictions and those of the entire Olympic movement will enable you to quickly do what everyone is expecting of you - to take action on behalf of freedoms in China before the start of the 2008 Olympic Games.”

Reporters Without Borders is relaunching its “Beijing 2008” campaign with a graphic of the Olympic rings replaced by handcuffs. Using its sections and networks, the organisation will distribute this campaign ad all over the world for one year, without any let-up.

The graphic is available in a high-definition version (EPS, 300 DPI, CMJN) and in six languages from the Media Downloads section of the Reporters Without Borders website ( Web banners are also available in French, English and Spanish in the following formats: 728 x 90, 468 x 60, 120 x 600, 250 x 250.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Saturday, June 23, 2007

China forcibly takes Tibetan teens for propaganda indoctrination

[Phayul:Saturday, June 23, 2007 16:35]

Dhartsedo (Tibet), June 2007: An eyewitness account from nomadic region of Amdo, Tibet, alerts to mass removal into China of every Tibetan teenager between the ages of 8 to 13.

"If a family has 3 sons aged between 8 and 13, all three are being forcibly taken to China by the Chinese military personnel,” says the informer. “Every Tibetan child within those age range is trucked into China; there is no choice, the Chinese are forcibly transporting to China Tibetan kids en mass. Kids from all the nomadic regions are being taken forcibly by the Chinese," the witness said.

When asked what could be the reason for that, he explains, "The Tibetan teens are going to be brainwashed down in China. This is a major preparation for the Games (referring to Beijing 2008 Olympics)propaganda."

The witness said that China is taking great precaution to paint a rosy picture of situation inside Tibet. "The Chinese are offering money to some poor Tibetan families with the condition that the locals parrot the official pretty lines to any foreign visitors during the upcoming Beijing Games."

These nomadic areas are within a day's bus ride northeast of the historic crossroad-town of Dhartsedo (Chinese: Kangding), in the eastern fringes of Tibet. According to the same source, what the Chinese are doing to Tibetans is "very dirty." "There is immense tension here and the facts about what are happening inside Tibet have to be extracted from talking to the nomads. They will tell you the truth," the witness says.

The story was transmitted to Phayul by a traveler (refusing to be named) who recently made a two-day unplanned tour inside eastern historical border area of Tibet with China from Chengdu. A Tibetan, on condition of anonymity, exposed the news of the appalling situation in Tibet “with the hope that I (the visitor) would pass it onto the free world.”

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Slave Labor in China Sparks Outrage

Time CNN: Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2007 By SIMON ELEGANT/BEIJING
Rural workers rescued from an illegal brickyard at the village of Linfen, in north-east China.

The furor in China surrounding the discovery that children and the mentally handicapped had been kidnapped and sold into slavery is showing no sign of abating. It seems increasingly likely that the controversy will mark a significant milestone in the evolution of the country's civil society. Police said they had rescued more than 500 people from forced labor in brick kilns, where they were worked 18 hours a day and beaten if they tried to escape. Some 30 arrests have been made and more are expected following a massive police rescue operation involving 35,000 officers checking 7,500 work places.

The crackdown began after some 400 parents of children who they suspected had been kidnapped published an anguished letter on the popular internet forum Tianya Club on June 7. The letter said they had managed to rescue some 40 children before running into stiff resistance from the local authorities in the northeastern province of Shanxi, where most of the kilns were situated. The letter sparked a storm on the Internet, and by June 13 a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party expressed concern about the issue. The police action soon followed.

Populist criticism on the internet has been at the forefront of the outrage — and may be a harbinger for how grassroots protests are heard by Chinese authorities in the future. As is often the case, coverage of the incident has been gently moved off the front pages of Chinese newspapers. Nevertheless, the subject is still a hot topic on Chinese websites, where much of criticism was directed at the authorities for failing to intervene to stop the human trafficking and enslavement of the brick kiln workers. Even in usually docile official publication like the English language China Daily, the sense of shock and outrage many Chinese felt on seeing footage and pictures of the dazed, sometimes bleeding workers being led out of the kilns was evident, even if relegated to op-ed pages.

"None of the synonyms for 'anger' is strong enough to express the public's fury," wrote columnist Liu Shinan. "I want to ask: What were local government officials doing when the children and other workers were tormented?" Liu also noted that "Nobody would believe that such atrocities... are happening in today's China — 58 years after the Communist Party-led revolution put an end to the old society." Another columnist in the same paper praised the role of a provincial newspaper reporter in exposing the slave trade and argued that China needed more investigative journalism.

Such criticism of the authorities and calls for a greater watchdog role by the tightly controlled media reflects the extent of shock many Chinese feel at the gruesome revelations. But it also shows the way the party is being forced to offer some accountability to a citizenry that is increasingly affluent and unwilling to accept that they have no ability to counter the arbitrary power of the state. The party leadership recognizes that it must adapt to the changing attitudes or risk losing control. "There is room to maneuver and the party is willing to negotiate so long as there is no challenge to its authority," says Nicholas Bequelin, a China researcher for Human Rights Watch.

For both sides, figuring out the limits of the evolving relationship between China's rulers and its people is clearly a work in process. The slavery controversy culminates a month that has seen a string of incidents demonstrating the different ways the authorities choose to handle controversial issues. For several days in early June, for example, thousands of mostly middle class protesters filled the center of the coastal city of Xiamen. They were calling for the government to cancel plans to build a chemical factory in a city suburb. Though the authorities didn't attempt to stop the highly unusual protests, they later called for participants to report to police stations and officers tracked down a number of demonstrators who had been photographed at the scene. Yet the government subsequently announced that it would suspend the project and the State Environmental Protection Administration in Beijing said the Xiamen government should reconsider.

The other incidents ranged from violent demonstrations against forced abortions and police brutality to an anti-pollution protest that took place entirely online. All were fueled because of the internet, and in particular the country's 20 million strong bloggers. Says Bequelin, of hte possibility for change in China: "The role of the internet is the one aspect of the kiln story that made me optimistic."

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

China builds road to Everest base camp for 2008 Olympics

Daily India: New Delhi, June 19: China is building a highway to the Everest base camp in Tibet to make the trip to the world's highest mountain easier for the Olympic torch relay in 2008.

The new road will upgrade a rough 108-kilometre (67-mile) track that leads to the northern base camp, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The construction of the new highway would cost 150-million-yuan (20-million-dollar), and is expected to be completed in about four months.

The road is being constructed to "ease the path of those bearing the Olympic torch. The route will also boost tourism to the base camp area, which is 5,200 metres above sea level," the China Daily said.

According to the organisers, the relay, covering some 137,000 kms, will be the longest ever in the history of the Olympic Games. However, the decision to include Tibet in the torch relay has angered opponents of Chinese rule in the Himalayan territory.

The torch will start its journey from Beijing on March 31, 2008 with an attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest by May.OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

China Killing Americans

Charles R. Smith makes it clear--why engaging with Communist China doesn't work. If Bush et al could only enlighten to it--many lives would be saved.

Newsmax: June 18, 2007 China is supplying the Taliban with advanced weapons. Chinese officials have stated that they are ignorant of such weapons sales, but U.S. officials are aware of the direct transfers. The Washington Times reported that Chinese made HN-5 surface-to-air missiles were being supplied to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

According to the Washington Times, U.S. defense officials are upset that Chinese weapons are being used to kill Americans.

"Americans are being killed by Chinese-supplied weapons, with the full knowledge and understanding of Beijing where these weapons are going," noted one official.

Iran has made purchases of Chinese weapons, asking Beijing to remove markings and serial numbers in order to avoid being traced back to their point of manufacture. China, in turn, has also supplied weapons directly to the Taliban.

The Bush administration has downplayed the arms sales by China while accusing Iran of passing weapons to the Taliban. The Bush administration is afraid that a backlash against Beijing would result if it were revealed that Beijing is participating in the killing of U.S. and allied soldiers.

China is also directly linked to the sale of advanced surface-to-air missiles to terrorists inside America. Two men were indicted in Los Angeles on charges of attempting to illegally import Chinese-made missiles into the United States. Chao Tung Wu, 51, of La Puente, Calif., and Yi Qing Chen, 41, of Rosemead, Calif., were charged with conspiracy to import Chinese-made surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

Law enforcement officials said Wu and Chen were caught in a sting developed out of the large-scale federal investigation in Los Angeles known as Smoking Dragon. Wu and Chen charged with conspiracy to import Chinese-made "Qianwei-2" anti-aircraft missiles and launchers.

The conspiracy involved a deal between an undercover U.S. federal agent and Wu and Chen, along with officials at the Xinshidai Corporation, a Chinese state-owned weapons maker, and an un-named Chinese general. The U.S. undercover agent told his Chinese contacts that the missiles were intended to shoot down American airliners inside the United States.

The missile deal used a third country to mask the weapons delivery by Xinshidai. The missiles were then to be shipped to the United States in containers identified as civilian machine parts. One alleged payment was determined to be a $2 million bribe to a foreign official to allow his unidentified country to trans-ship the missiles.

The Chinese government has done nothing to prosecute anyone involved in the scheme to shoot down civilian airliners, despite the direct involvement of a Chinese General. Again, the communists have decided at the highest levels to approve the sale of advanced arms to terrorists inside America.

Why has the U.S. government not reacted to the terror threat from China? The current Bush policy toward China is called "engagement" and it has been in place for the past 20 years. It ignores the Chinese Army and communist rule. The idea behind engagement is that by promoting free trade and economic growth China will move by itself toward a democratic government, peaceful co-existence and social freedoms.

Many who oppose engagement call it appeasement. It has not made China any freer or any nicer. It has created a small middle class that is dedicated to the CCP line because freedom would mean all those poor people voting in representatives that may not spend on weapons, space or giant gala Olympic parties.

The sale of weapons to the Taliban by Beijing is an overt act of war and the decision to do so was made at the highest levels in the ruling communist party. Appeasement will not stop China from killing Americans.

The correct policy for China is "containment". Containment was a policy put in place around the USSR. It went up after WWII with the Truman administration. Restrictions were placed on trade, travel and information. Containment ended when the USSR was no more.

There is also an illogical approach to dealing with the rise of the PRC in military and economic terms. The current policy toward North Korea is a good example of how containment - the lack of trade - can weaken a military to the point of being useless.

Of course, this can lead to a radical government, which can be a loose cannon with cheaper nuclear warheads. The containment must also be balanced with humanitarian goals of seeing that people don't starve to death. The grip of a totalitarian regime will always sacrifice the masses for the good of the leadership. When the grip fails - the leadership dies or flees.

Engagement merely extends the life of a totalitarian state. It does not end the cruelty, make it any nicer in terms of nationalistic aggression or for the economic plight of the masses. This extension also lengthens the time under which the people must suffer, living in a chained society. China is a very good example where, despite the vast income, little if anything has flowed to the massive impoverished population.

It has created a very narrow middle class that would rather the masses not have freedoms. They are living off the blood, and sweat of slave labor to buy their SUVs, stereos and TVs. They certainly do not want that to change.

The illogic of engagement with China is an extreme case of stupid. For example, the World Bank still classifies China as a developing nation so it provides billions of dollars in low cost or free loans. Primarily the U.S finances these loans. This, of course, flies in the face of economic reality. China currently runs the largest export deficit in history mainly due to its predatory currency policy of maintaining a low priced Yuan. China also spends billions on advanced military hardware and is engaged in an expensive space program.

Until recently, Canada was providing billions in loans to the Chinese government based on the premise that it was still an underdeveloped nation. The Canadians changed that because of the obvious current economic power in Beijing.

This brings the question of why should we be financing Chinese economic development when they certainly can afford to do it themselves? The answer comes in the form of corporate interests who seek these U.S. government backed loans to provide financing of their business activities in China.

In reality - We are financing the growth of the Chinese military. The idea of funding nuclear tipped missiles pointed at America is not a pleasant notion. I would prefer to not do it at all.

In the end, engagement is appeasement. It costs money, lives, and freedom. It has not helped but instead - hurt development and in the long run - hurt the chances of peace.

The only sensible solution is to adopt a unified containment policy. This means that India, the US, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines are going to have to band together and agree on joint policy, political - military - economic action toward Beijing.

It won't be an easy road because the PLA has many backers even here in the US. The US needs to dump the "engagement" policy that has failed over the past 20 years. Its time for the US to recognize that engagement does not lead to peace or freedom when you are dealing with a totalitarian state.

The greedy territory hungry PLA warlords will face a common front - whether it is the illegal occupation of the Indian territory Arunachal Pradesh, selling nuclear weapons to tin-pot dictators, selling weapons to terrorists or threats to invade Taiwan. They will have to face the lost income - forcing changes at both a social level and in a political military re-alignment of priorities. The pressure from all directions will force China to implode rather than explode.

We can make China change - but it has to be a "we" operation for it to succeed.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, June 15, 2007

Olympics Committee Slammed Again on China Labour Rights

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
One The International Olympic Committees' (IOC) response to Monday's report exposing severe exploitation of Chinese workers making Olympics merchandise is seriously inadequate, according to the authors of the report, PlayFair 2008*.

"The IOC has recognised that there is a problem, but they are not giving it the attention it deserves. A solution is needed not just for these four factories but for the whole of Olympics merchandise" said Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the ITUC, which is working the International Textile Garment and Leather Workers´ Federation and the Clean Clothes Campaign in the PlayFair 2008 group. "After initially strongly denying any wrongdoing at all, one of the factories in the report has now admitted using child labour. This shows just how far the IOC needs to go to restore the reputation of Olympics merchandise. The IOC must take responsibility for the whole of Olympics licensing, and apply the same degree of enthusiasm to protecting workers' rights as they do to protecting the copyright of the Olympic rings", he added.

In a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge, the PlayFair organisations "appreciate the stated commitment to social responsibility and ethical sourcing", but have criticised the IOC for not giving any concrete information on what it is doing or what it might do in future to end labour rights violations in products bearing Olympics brands.

"The overwhelming response of the factories themselves has been one of denial" said Clean Clothes Campaign Spokesperson, Ineke Zeldenrust. It is well known that factory monitoring in the apparel and sports merchandise sector has been beset by problems of fraud and misrepresentation by employers, in China and in other producing countries."This problem is well documented and is publicly recognised by global sporting brands", said Zeldenrust. "The PlayFair 2008 researchers who documented the abuses are experienced and competent, and interviewed the workers in a way which ensured they would not be exposed to possible intimidation or reprisals. Playfair is now concerned that BOCOG's investigation may not now be able to offer the same degree of protection and that the full picture may therefore not be revealed in these factories."

The conduct of the promised investigation by the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) is also a matter for concern, according to PlayFair. Rather than ensuring that the factories concerned respect workers rights and remedy all the violations outlined in the report, including compensating the workers for wages and entitlements they have been denied, BOCOG is threatening to cancel contracts with the four factories highlighted in the report. Other buyers are also called upon to maintain their orders and work with the factories and stakeholders, including local labour groups, to improve conditions.

"The workers in these factories have suffered enough" said Neil Kearney, General Secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation.

"The IOC should not stand by and and allow the Beijing Organizing Committee to simply run away from this issue. Four years have been lost since we first took this up with the IOC. Now is the time for them to sit down with us and sort the problem out."

The letter to the IOC again calls upon it to work together with the PlayFair 2008 organisations to develop and implement proposals to ensure labour rights compliance throughout all Olympics merchandise supply chains, in China and elsewhere, rather than the approach which the IOC seems to be planning to take, which is exclusively company-based and leaves no room for the workers concerned to involve trade unions and worker support groups. The problems described in the PlayFair 2008 report are common in the sector throughout the world, and by no means limited to China nor to the four factories mentioned in the report. As a global campaign network, PlayFair 2008 will continue to challenge companies, the Olympic family and governments to make a global effort to end the exploitation and abuse of workers in sports merchandise worldwide.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tell it like it is (re: Dalai Lama in Australia)

You can always count on Communist China to spread rumours that the Dalai Lama is political and evil.

Courier Mail, Australia -
Ian McPhedran; June 15, 2007 12:00am

CHINA'S gross over-reaction to the decision by Prime Minister John Howard and other senior politicians to meet the Dalai Lama smacks of hypocrisy.
The communist regime in Beijing explodes every time a country ventures even mild criticism about China's appalling human rights record, screaming "interference" in its domestic affairs.

Now the boot is on the other foot and Australia should protest loudly about China's attempts to bully us over the visit by the 71-year-old Dalai Lama of Tibet.

He is here on a low-key 11-day visit seemingly to preach tolerance and happiness, which stands in stark contrast to Beijing's politics of hatred and its brutal treatment of many Tibetans.

The fact Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd have chosen to meet him is none of China's business.

Tibet's spiritual leader visited Australia Zoo on Wednesday to urge people to look after animals.

"Taking care of animals is essential to developing more happiness in human beings," he said.

Hardly a radical anti-Chinese propaganda message.

At the National Press Club on Monday he urged Australia to be a "true friend" to China by standing up to it on thorny subjects such as human rights, democracy, press freedoms and the rule of law. "Remain firm, tell them, not negatively, but friendly," he said.

Not exactly a rabid anti-communist rave.

Australia treads a delicate line when dealing with China. On the one hand we are pleased to trade with the emerging economic giant and on the other we cannot ignore human rights in the race for profits.

We studiously observe a "one China" policy and we do not lecture Beijing about the treatment of Tibet or its brutal suppression of religious minorities such as Falun Gong.

Rather, the Howard Government has chosen a "softly softly" approach to human rights matters, preferring to engage Chinese officials in dialogue instead of blasting blunt messages through the diplomatic megaphone.

Just how effective this approach has been is difficult to judge, but in terms of economic rewards Australia is a major supplier of energy and raw materials to China's booming economy.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang did not hesitate to grab the megaphone when he accused Australia of allowing the Dalai Lama to indulge his "splittist" agenda.

"He is a long-time political exile engaged in splittist activities and destroying national unity," Qin said.

"We hope that the Australian Government can deeply recognise this and proceed from the overall interests of maintaining healthy Sino-Australian relations and not allow the Dalai Lama to engage in splittist activities."

The Tibetan spiritual leader is hardly engaging in "splittist" activities as the Chinese so awkwardly put it. He is simply spreading a message of peace and hope.

The bully boys in Beijing are showing their true colours by threatening the Howard Government and other political leaders.

The threats about "maintaining healthy Sino-Australian relations" are not only unacceptable, they are hollow.

The concepts of freedom and democracy clearly do not sit well with the communist regime.

Memo Beijing: The reason we don't have jails full of dissidents, religious leaders in exile or the highest execution rate on Earth, is because we are a free and robust democracy.

That means we meet who we want to meet and allow who we want to come here to freely express their views.

We are happy to maintain good relations with China and to sell our coal, gas and other commodities to Chinese industries, but we cannot allow Beijing or anyone else to dictate who comes here and who they meet.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer made it clear that Australia will not accept threats or abuse from a supposedly friendly country: "I've explained to the Chinese on a number of occasions in relation to this issue that in this country, the Dalai Lama is regarded as a religious figure – a significant religious figure – and it's just not a proposition for us to refuse to give someone like the Dalai Lama a visa to visit Australia.

"China has a very different political system from Australia's but I'd ask the Chinese to respect the way our culture and our political system works."

Qin and his masters have a different view. He said bluntly that the Dalai Lama was "not a simple religious figure".

The Mandarin speaking Rudd, who met the Dalai Lama in a Canberra hotel on Monday, said Australia had a duty to treat the Dalai Lama with respect.

"Obviously the Chinese don't welcome these sort of things, I understand that, but at the same time we are in our country and the Dalai Lama is a major world religious leader and it is important that we treat him with appropriate respect," Rudd said.

In the subtle world of diplomacy, where words are bullets, both Downer and Rudd have told China to "bugger off" and rightly so.

Ian McPhedran is The Courier-Mail's national defence correspondent
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Richardson's Idea on Boycotting the Olympics Deserves Further Consideration

OpEdNews, PA - by Stephen Fox - June 14, 2007 at 08:21:20 - I am very glad that more and more people seem to recognize the importance of Richardson's breakthrough regarding the Bush Adminstration’s abjectly failed Iraq policy. These failures have impacted almost every phase of American foreign policy, which has based more on military power than traditional diplomacy for the past six years. Richardson’s effectiveness is even clearer now, with Lieberman threatening to use nuclear weapons on Iran. I find this posturing and blustering to be totally absurd and even dangerous; because of my extensive studies of the horrendous effects of nuclear weapons on the health of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, called “hibakusha” in Japanese.

I strongly agree with Richardson’s overall focus on diplomacy, and putting economic sanctions on Iran. I agree especially his innovative idea put forth during the New Hampshire debates. There has been a general silence among nations vis-à-vis China’s ghastly atrocities in the human rights realm, and not just about China and Darfur, but especially toward Tibetans. China has constructed in Tibet dozens of prisons which, for Tibetans, are exactly like Auschwitz and Dachau.

I posited the same idea in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, in correspondence to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and to many heads-of-state, that the moral indignation of the nations in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 could be harnessed into at least the threat of a boycott. To be effective, this could be perhaps worded more diplomatically. During the debate, both Senator Edwards and Senator Biden clearly agreed with this point by Richardson.

Make no mistake: this is probably the last chance in human history to do anything constructive about Tibet, to prevent henceforth the genocidal treatment of Tibetans remaining in Tibet, which has since 1959 seen 1.2 million Tibetans killed. This totals, roughly 20% of the entire population of Tibet. American political powers could decline to put to use what little remains of our powers of moral suasion in the world at large, and we could to once again docilely capitulate to dim-witted politicians who say that the Olympics are only about sport, and not about politics, and such claptrap as “a boycott would unfairly punish the athletes.” Then we would be no better than the many nations who were oblivious to the growing obviousness of the genocide of Jews in Europe before and during World War II.

Actually, the USA was for many years totally oblivious in this regard, whether you blame Roosevelt or anti-Semitics in the State Department, all of which is thoroughly documented in Arthur Morse’s book, While Six Million Died. In that light, we think Richardson is on the right track! The case is even stronger, when you consider the dead pets and the poisoned cold medicines and toothpaste from China. Those considerations are just not “about politics”: that was life and death for many, including at least 100 dead, mostly children, in Panama!

News: In what may be its most audacious Olympic act yet, China’s Ministry of Public Security has issued an incredible directive that lists 43 categories of “unwanteds” who are to be investigated and barred from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Pariah groups include: - eerily vague “key individuals in ideological fields” - “overseas hostile forces” - “counterrevolutionary”
figures - the Dalai Lama and all affiliates - members of “religious entities not sanctioned by the state” (e.g., Roman Catholics) - “individuals who instigate discontentment toward the Chinese Communist Party through the Internet,” - and even certain types of “disabled” persons. Members of the Falun Gong would be barred, as would be “family members of deceased persons” killed in “riots” — a euphemism for events such as the Tiananmen Massacre — and Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which the regime brands “national separatists.” Only at the very bottom of the directive does it identify “violent terrorists” and members of “illegal organizations” as targets for investigation and possible barring.

Stephen Fox is an art dealer from Santa Fe, founder of New Millennium Fine Art, an eclectic Santa Fe gallery since 1980. Active in international and Legislature Democratic politics, he is working towards a ban on Aspartame and the establishment of a New Mexico Nutrition Council, with powers to question and even challenge the FDA. He was a "snowball-in-hell" candidate for the US Senate in 1978, and has been deemed by a Taos newspaper as a "professional idealist," from the M.K. Gandhi/Eleanor Roosevelt wing of the Democratic party.
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Congress Using Olympics to Pressure China on Sudan

13 June 2007

The U.S. House of Representatives already is on record urging China to put pressure on Sudan to end bloodshed in the Darfur region. Leaders on a key foreign affairs subcommittee said they hope to use the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games as leverage. Witnesses told a panel that China could use its economic clout to convince Khartoum to bring an end to Sudan's four-year conflict. Leta Hong Fincher has more.

Democratic Party Congressman John Tierney says that China -- as the host country of the 2008 Olympics -- could be the "lynchpin" in ending the atrocities in Darfur.

John Tierney
John Tierney
"Should not the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing serve as the catalyst to finally put to an end to the horrific, and unfortunately ongoing, tragedy in Darfur?” asked Mr. Tierney. “The images of the genocide in Sudan are forever burned into our collective consciousness. Four hundred thousand people dead. Kids killed and maimed in front of their mothers; mothers raped and beaten in front of their kids."

Tierney, chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, held a hearing Thursday on how to urge China to use its influence with Sudan to stop the violence in Darfur.

Daoud Hari
Daoud Hari
Witnesses included activists, Olympic athletes and a refugee from Darfur, Daoud Hari. He fled Sudan in 2003 after the government-backed militias known as the Janjaweed destroyed his village. "I also remember seeing how the Janjaweed killed the villagers. In one case, they dismembered the family bodies and put them in the village well to poison the water resources for the area."

Hari and others told the hearing that China, which buys much of Sudan's oil, should suspend its economic cooperation with Khartoum.

Lawrence Rossin, international coordinator of the Save Darfur Coalition, also criticized Beijing's close military ties with Khartoum, in spite of a U.N. arms embargo in place since 2005.

"The U.N.'s own panel of experts have reported that Chinese weapons, aircraft, trucks were being used by Sudan's armed forces and the Janjaweed to kill people in Darfur,” said Rosen. “Beijing defends these sales as legal but [human rights group] Amnesty International has documented convincingly that they violate the U.N. embargo."

Jill Savitt is head of a campaign called the Olympic Dream for Darfur. Savitt said her group is organizing an Olympic torch relay from Darfur to Beijing to put pressure on China.

"If there are ways members of Congress and members of this subcommittee can approach the Olympic sponsors, can approach the International Olympic Committee and say that they do not want the Olympics tarnished by genocide, that the Olympics host can not be complicit in an ongoing genocide," she told the subcommittee.

The Chinese government has voiced "strong dissatisfaction" to a recent resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives to urge China to pressure Sudan. Beijing says it has appointed a special envoy on Darfur and has made "unremitting efforts" to find a political solution to the problem.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

President urges China to change

Taipei Times: DEMOCRATIZE: In the latest edition of his e-newsletter, Chen Shui-bian said that the PRC should use its strength to become a peaceful, constructive force for good
By Ko Shu-ling, STAFF REPORTER - Friday, Jun 01, 2007, Page 3

With the 18th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre approaching, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called on Beijing to make use of its increasing national power to make the transformation to democracy.

"The Chinese government must think about how to utilize its growing national strength and learn a lesson from the rise of other big powers," Chen said. "It will bring happiness to the people of China, Taiwan and the world if China transforms itself from the role of a potential invader, attacker and destroyer to a peaceful, safe and constructive force via a democratic system."

Chen made the remarks in the latest issue of his weekly electronic newsletter.

Chen said history has proven that a strong but undemocratic country is often dangerous and aggressive. Three of the most prominent examples were Japan, Germany and the Soviet Union, he said, because their rapidly growing economies and authoritarian rule led to militarism and hegemony.

Since the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, Chen said China's military spending has seen double-digit growth each year, well exceeding its economic growth and self-defense requirements.

As China has grown from a regional power to a global military power, Chen said its military buildup has a far-reaching influence on China itself and the world.

Over the past 18 years, China has experienced dramatic changes, but the only thing that remains unchanged is its one-party, authoritarian reign and merciless suppression of freedom and democracy, Chen said.

Likening Chinese Communist Party's rule to the wax and wane of the moon, Chen said that China has its bright side, but there is always the dark side to counter any positive developments.

While most people were overwhelmed by China's economic development, they tended to ignore China's notorious human rights record, social instability and the fact that it is not democratic, free or humane.

From 2003 to 2005, Chen said the frequency of demonstrations and the number of protesters in China has increased by 15 to 18 percent annually.

China has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth since President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) came to power, but China's suppression of human rights and other fundamental freedoms such as freedom of speech, media and religion has also been unparalleled, Chen said.

China has topped the chart of countries detaining journalists over the past eight years, Chen said, and it was hard to imagine that in a knowledge-based age China has more than 300,000 "Internet police" constantly monitoring the on-line activities of Chinese netizens. OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

The Insider’s Story Reveals Chinese Regime’s Overseas scheme

Phayul[Tuesday, June 12, 2007 13:46]
By Tsewang Lhadon

Chen Yonglin holding photos - one of a Tibetan activists meeting - that he says were taken by CHinese spies/ Photo by Matthew Hildebrand/Epoch Times
Chen Yonglin holding photos - one of a Tibetan activists meeting - that he says were taken by CHinese spies/ Photo by Matthew Hildebrand/Epoch Times
Listening to Mr. Chen Yonglin, a former Chinese diplomat speak at a public forum organized by the China Research Associate at the University of Toronto, sponsored by China Rights Network was fascinating.

Chen a former first Secretary at the Chinese Consulate in Sydney made headlines when he defected in May 2005. Chen spoke openly of the regime’s ploys to influence and control western perception of China through Chinese language media overseas and through student and community groups acting as front organizations. The purpose he said is to discredit and intimidate the five “poisons” or the target groups: Tibetan exiles, Taiwainese, Uighur Muslims, democracy activists and the Falun Gong practitioners.

Chen revealed efforts of Chinese regime to control overseas media through direct investment and gaining control of content publications. This he described as infiltration of Chinese Communist Party’s ideology; the main purpose being to legitimize its human rights violations. According to Chen the communist party is very instable with political stability dominating foreign policy. Chinese missions abroad monitoring and repressing dissidents outweighs their other functions combined.

According to Chen two people in every Chinese embassy is from the Secret Service. All communist institutions are considered Chinese government property including Chinese local institutions overseas. Chinese consulates built umbrella organizations, members among who are handpicked to lead the organizations. These members are used to proliferate the communist ideology among overseas Chinese. For purposes of effective monitoring the groups have less than ten members. Chen alleged the use of Confucius doctrine by Chinese officials to built good connections at high places claiming that Confucius theory in essence is against communism.

Chen went on to say how most younger generation in China today is ignorant of history. This he argued is due to the introduction of simplified Chinese script character that very few can read the real doctrines today. In other words the younger generation knows only what the regime wants known. History is distorted to suite its requirements.

On the question of Tibet when asked what he thought of the five rounds of negotiations between the Tibetan exile representatives and the Chinese government, Chen did not hesitate painting a gloomy picture describing the whole exercise as a “tactic by China”. He bluntly said, “The Dalai Lama has no bargaining chip at all” and “there is no sincerity from the Chinese side at all”. “It is impossible for you to get such result from negotiations”, he added.

According to Chen, the communist regime is hell bent in ensuring political stability for its own interest. Jiang Zemen who ordered persecution of thousands of Falun Gong members knows too well he will never be forgiven. Recalling the 1989 crackdown and imposition of martial law in Lhasa during which hundreds of Tibetans were killed, Chen said, “Hu has Tibetan blood on his hands”.
Chen Yonglin declares the collapse of the communist regime as inevitable while warning western nations to pay heed because Big Brother knows no boundaries. That was Chen’s message.

I went to Chen after the discussion and thanked him for sharing his insights and for his courage. When I told him I was a Tibetan, he said, “The Dalai Lama must visit Tibet”. …He must find a way to do it”. There was no room for arguments. He seemed to know what he was saying. It was time to move on but he left me thinking as I left the room.

The writer is a former Executive Director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Beijing Games become catch-all for causes

There are so many human rights violations happening right in China that the list would probably a mile long. Think organ harvesting from live Falun Gong pratitioners.

Guardina UK by Lindsay Beck - BEIJING, June 13 (Reuters) - What do the conflict in Darfur, forced evictions, media freedoms and the rights of migrant labourers have in common?
The answer is China and the 2008 Olympics.

Activists everywhere are seizing on Beijing's hosting of the massive sports event to pressure the government on a range of causes -- a range so broad, some are wondering if they can have any impact.

"Certainly there is a tactical element, but there is a risk that if you stretch your claims on an issue linking it to the Olympics, this actually devalues the argument and makes it look very opportunistic," said Nicholas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Still, he said, with China's huge economic might and growing diplomatic weight making it more impervious to international pressure, the Olympics were a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to bring human rights issues to the fore.

Issues of China's rule in Tibet, its trade with Sudan, city redevelopment leading to forced evictions and media freedoms are only a sampling of causes activists and civil society groups have linked to the Games in hopes of striking a chord with Beijing.

The voices advocating change have also broadened from the usual range of rights watchdogs to Hollywood figures such as Mia Farrow, who has been calling for China to change its policies in Sudan.

Beijing's desire for a successful Games, she said, "may provide a lone point of leverage with a country that has otherwise been impervious to all criticism".

Many say the values associated with the Olympics are broad enough that hosting the event implies a commitment to upholding certain standards on rights and freedoms more generally -- standards they say are lacking in China under Communist Party rule.

"There is a grandeur, there is a lustre in being associated with the world Olympics, and it shows that you are a leader, that you are standing on the international stage as a leader," said Allyn Brooks-LaSure, of the Save Darfur Coalition.

"We believe that there is an associated responsibility commensurate with that."


The advocacy group has been urging Beijing, which buys much of Sudan's oil and sells it arms, to do more to pressure Khartoum over the fighting in Darfur.

The group has taken out full-page advertisements in major newspapers featuring a photo of a hand holding a starting pistol at a running track alongside one of an African man holding a rifle, with the slogan "Beijing Games. Darfur Massacre. China's Only Publicising Its Role In One".
Brooks-LaSure says the campaign is having an impact, with Chinese officials in Washington initiating meetings with Save Darfur and becoming more responsive to calls to do more.

The Darfur issue sparked a call from French politician Segolene Royal to consider a boycott of the Games if China did not shift its stance, and last month 108 members of the U.S. Congress warned of a public opinion backlash staining the event if China did not increase pressure.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said such attempts were doomed to fail, but past Olympic boycotts have made an impact, with the United States leading a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan the year before. Five summer Olympics have been subjected to boycotts in the past 50 years.

But some cast doubt on how effective such pressure campaigns can be.

"The Chinese don't have a tradition of bending over backwards to make people happy all the time," said Taylor Fravel, a political scientist and China specialist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

It was also hard to unravel the Olympics as a factor motivating China's behaviour from the broader drive in Chinese foreign policy to portray itself as a responsible great power, he said.
And others argue that linking issues as seemingly unrelated as the Olympics and the strife in Sudan runs the risk of diluting the message for issues more immediately related to the Games, such as allowing domestic and international media to report freely about the event.

Bequelin, of Human Rights Watch, said it was important to campaign for broader systemic changes in China to ensure any period of easing for the Games was not followed by a crackdown.
"You have to be careful of Olympic fatigue as well," he said. "If everything is tied to the Olympics then nothing is tied to the Olympics."
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

World mustn't remain silent about evil abuse

That says it all!

HeraldNet, WA -
Editorials - Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - As China rebuts reports this week that some factories are using child labor to produce merchandise for the 2008 Olympic Games, a stunningly horrific report on organ harvesting awaits the government's official denial.

In the past few years, allegations have surfaced about the persecution, abuse and torture of Falun Gong members. The Chinese government considers practitioners members of a cult, suitable for imprisoning. Followers say Falun Gong is a nonviolent spiritual belief and physical practice. When Falun Gong members first reported the harvesting of organs of fellow imprisoned practitioners, it was met mostly with disbelief. Maybe those Falon Gong folks are crazy cult members, imagining horrible persecution for their beliefs. Which is almost easier to believe than what appears to be the evil truth.

This week, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, issued a report that corroborates previous findings about organ harvesting, which has been "inflicted on a large number of unwilling Falun Gong practitioners at a wide variety of locations ... "

The report further states, "It is reported that employees of several transplant centers have indicated that they have used organs from live Falun Gong practitioners for transplants."

Which is to say Falun Gong members are killed to harvest their organs. The imprisoned practitioners are given injections to induce heart failure. After the organs are removed, the bodies are cremated, according to the report.

China denies the allegations. But human rights investigators believe China admitted to the practice last July when it issued a law prohibiting the sale of organs and requiring the donor to give written permission. The report notes that up until April 2006, price lists for organ transplants in China were listed on the Internet. Desperately ill Americans are increasingly among those traveling to China for transplants.

Dr. Shizhong Chen, the founder of the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, was grateful for the report's evidence, but remains frustrated by the lack of worldwide concern. "Sadly, we have also seen a new kind of silence to this evil, silence from world governments and the media," Chen said.

"This report ... removes any excuse of silence, of not knowing, not trusting and not believing the appeals of Falun Gong practitioners whose lives are supplying China's burgeoning transplant market," Chen said. "It also belies the U.S. State Department report that they found 'no evidence' of organ harvesting after Chinese officials organized two guided tours for their benefit."

As a nation, we have been challenged to condemn China's grotesque practice of torturing and killing human beings - who are imprisoned for their religious beliefs - to harvest their organs. How can we remain silent?
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

China Faces Crisis of Credibility Before Olympics

June 13, 2007 at 08:45:52

by John Carey Page 1 of 3 page(s)

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China has a crisis on its hands. With less than a year to the final run up to the Beijing Games next summer, Chinese pet food has killed American pets; Chinese toothpaste has been found to contain thinners that are poisonous; Chinese catfish are prohibited by Alabama and Mississippi because of high levels of antibiotics; a company in California has recalled “monkfish” from China because it is probably really puffer fish containing the toxin chemical tetrodotoxin.

On Tuesday, June 12, 2007, China’s number two envoy in Washington DC went on the assault to explain the rigor China uses to police and ensure the safety of all products including food.

Chinese Embassy Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Zheng Zeguang said “certain isolated cases” should not be “blown out of proportion” to mislead the American public into thinking that all food and drugs from China are unsafe. He reiterated that all products coming from China were safe.
Meanwhile, the Chinese charm offensive continued in Beijing.

Vice Minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce Li Dongsheng took more than 100 reporters from the international media on a tour of a government facility that houses seized fake products. Fake, tainted or adulterated products from soy sauce to chewing gum were on display.

Mr. Li said, “Yes, there are now some problems of food safety of Chinese products. However, they are not serious. We should not exaggerate those problems.”

Mr. Li said “very good, very complete methods” are used by China to regulate product safety.

“We are very concerned about food safety in China and very concerned about protecting the rights of consumers,” Mr. Li said. “But we do not want to cause panic among the people.”

Well let’s just make two points.

First, these guys, especially Mr. Li, might lose their jobs if not their freedom or their lives if they cannot turn around the impression in the international community that companies in China adulterated products to make money; that these adulterated products, in some cases, were toxic; and that China’s “very good, very complete methods” to get these products out of the “food chain” just didn’t cut the [adulterated] mustard.

And, Second, and more importantly, China has a history, tradition and culture of cheating the other guy.

We call this the “culture of corruption.”

The communist government in China knows this is the case so they do not allow a free press to operate and every single case of tragic wrong-doing results in a flurry of face-saving shows, demonstrations and explanations of how well we do our busines in China.

China’s government acts like a fourth grader caught in the act of smoking a cigarette and then says, “What cigarette?”

A case in point: in 2003, China faced an epidemic of a disease called Severe Acute Reparatory Syndrome (SARS).

Three things happened when China realized it had an epidemic on its hands. In Phase One, China covered up the problem and denied it existed. Phase Two was a flurry of activity to impress the international community that China was on top of the situation. Most of this was for show and didn’t contribute a thing toward ending the epidemic. Finally, China launched Phase Three: a show and charm offensive to convince the world that it did a great job solving the problem.

During the SARS emergency, the international media found out, for the first time, that China lacked sufficient medications, medical staff and hospital facilities to properly service their own population. Like many other things in China, the medical system was mostly a sham. After graduating from medical school, the best educated medical professionals in China went to the west to work.

The World Health Organization estimated that only about 4% of China’s medical professionals were prepared for a disease like SARS. And the medical staff was severely undermanned.

Today, according to China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), “In most countries, the ratio of the number of nurses to the total population is about 0.5 percent, but the ratio in China is only 0.1 percent.”

I documented China’s response to the SARS epidemic in a Washington Times commentary under the headline “China’s Ham-Handed SARS Response: Omen of The Future In Disease Control?”

Recall the Bird Flu crisis? Phases One, Two and Three were used again. Hey, when you have 1.3 Billion people you can’t have a complicated play book. And forget about innovation. When an American football quarterback would call an audible for perfectly valid reasons; China is stuck. The only question China’s government leaders face is, what Phase do you think we are in?

In the current food and product safety crime, China is now launching Phase Three. Zheng Zeguang and Li Dongsheng are apparently two of the point men.

China launched Phase Three of the food safety scare early because there are other emergencies to handle. Hollywood big shots are already calling the 2008 Summer Olympics the “Genocide Games” because of China’s intransigence and denial of the genocide in Darfur. China’s President Hu Jintao heard about it from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the G-8 meeting and the next week from the King and PM during a state visit to Sweden.

My bet is, given China’s record on human rights, that Hu Jintao’s first reaction normally would be to ignore Canada and China. But these are not normal times.

What if Canada and Sweden boycotted the Beijing Olympics? Losing those two countries would be a tragedy. But Canada and Sweden might convince others to pull out. Add the Hollywood talk of the “Genocide Games” and that could be enough to ruin China’s party next summer.

So China has a few other crises to handle yet in the near term. Blood plasma has now been found to be adulterated and contaminated. Some has been found to be toxic. And the genocide of Darfur looms.

With the Olympics only a year away, China needs to get the food scare settled quickly. We are now in Phase Three.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
June 13, 2007


China and the Food Supply: The Ugly Story of China’s Culture of Corruption

Ahead of Olympics, China faces charges of child labor

Beijing’s role in Darfur genocide

John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

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OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Advertisers not wary of 'Genocide Olympics'

Despite a possible backlash against China for its investments in Sudan, some media buyers say marketers will still embrace next year's Olympics.

NEW YORK ( -- The Summer Olympic Games in Beijing are more than a year away. But a growing backlash against China's ties to the government of Sudan could have some major consequences for GE (Charts, Fortune 500) and its NBC Universal entertainment division, which will broadcast the Olympics in the U.S., as well as several high profile corporate sponsors.

Actress and human rights activist Mia Farrow, who also acts as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador, has been referring to next year's games as the "Genocide Olympics," due to the conflict in Dafrur that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

CNN's Brian Todd looks at a proposed boycott of the 2008 Olympics over China's support of Sudan. (May 8)
Play video

China has invested heavily in Sudan's oil industry and some have argued that the country has not exerted as much influence as it could to stop the violence in Darfur.

Farrow has urged people to contact sponsors of the Olympics to ask them to withhold their corporate support of the games until there is a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Darfur.

Members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate sent separate strongly worded letters to Chinese president Hu Jintao last month saying that unless the Chinese government steps up pressure on Sudan to curb the violence in Darfur, China risks tarnishing its image before the Olympics.

The letter from the House warned that the Olympics could be a "disaster" marred by protests.

And Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico and Democratic presidential candidate, suggested in a debate with other candidates earlier this month that the U.S. might want to consider boycotting the Olympics if China doesn't do more to stop the bloodshed in Darfur.

A representative for NBC was not immediately available for comment about how a possible boycott or protests could affect the company. GE (Charts, Fortune 500) is also a sponsor of next summer's Olympics.

Representatives for other big sponsors, including McDonald's (Charts, Fortune 500), Coca-Cola (Charts, Fortune 500), Lenovo and Visa and Eastman Kodak (Charts, Fortune 500) were also not available for comment.

But a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Manulife (Charts), the insurance company that owns John Hancock and is also a Olympic sponsor, said in an e-mail with that the company has so far not received any calls or complaints about the company's involvement with the Olympics.

A spokesman for the U.S. subsidiary of Panasonic, another Olympics sponsor, said Panasonic, which is owned by Japanese consumer electronics giant Matsushita (Charts), had no comment about the controversy and referred to Ben Seeley, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Switzerland. Seeley was also not immediately available for comment.

The Olympics are a multi-million dollar marketing opportunity for sponsors, as the games tend to attract large worldwide audiences. And the stakes are particularly high for NBC, which just finished in fourth place in the ratings race for the third consecutive season, and is clearly in sore need of improved ratings.

At last month's upfront presentation to media buyers and advertisers in New York, NBC spent a sizable chunk of time at the end of the event touting the Summer Games.

Yet, several media buyers said, that so far, the Sudan issue does not appear to be playing a major role in determining whether or not marketers want to buy commercial time during the Olympics.

"It's still a little early but I have not heard any concerns or backlash yet," said Andy Donchin, director of national broadcast with Carat USA, a media buying firm based in New York.

However, the possibility of more protests are something to keep an eye on.

"Politics and controversy are always a concern with the Olympics but at this point, it's sort of below the surface. I haven't heard of any specific advertisers that are worried about it because it's not top of mind yet," said Bill Carroll, a vice president and director of programming with Katz Television Group, a consulting and media buying firm based in New York.

That may change though.

"This is an issue that bears watching. Any time there is a negative dynamic associated with something as positive as the Olympics, it's one of many concerns that a network and advertisers could have," said John Rash, senior vice president and director of broadcast negotiations with Campbell Mithun, a media buying firm based in Minneapolis.

Carroll agreed, adding that if stories about China's association with Sudan becomes even more prevalent in the coming months, some advertisers might not be eager to have ties to an event referred to as the "Genocide Olympics."

"If China and Darfur becomes a more contentious situation then advertisers may want to avoid getting in the middle of it. Obviously, advertisers respond to their consumers. If there is a negative reaction to being an Olympics sponsor, advertisers will have to consider that," Carroll said.

But one sports marketing expert said some advertisers are still a little wary of becoming involved in the Olympics but not for political reasons.

John Rowady, president of rEvolution, a sports marketing and media company based in Chicago, said some of his firm's clients have expressed reluctance about the Olympics merely because China is a relatively new and untapped market for marketers.

So while some companies may not want to aggressively market in China itself, Rowady doesn't think fears of a backlash will effect domestic spending on advertising associated with the games.

"A lot of people are sitting on the fence to determine what their plans should be for the Olympics. Many companies may skip the Olympics just because they won't feel comfortable marketing in China just yet and not due to politics," he said. Top of page

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Group calls on China to define 'state secret'

Look here for the New HRIC Report Details State Secrets System.

L.A. Times: Many of the rules governing such data are classified, making it hard for individuals to know they're in violation.
By Mark Magnier, Times Staff Writer
June 12, 2007

BEIJING — What do mailing newspaper clippings to your husband, defending displaced tenants and writing a doctoral thesis using 50-year-old library records have in common?

They're all apparently enough to get you thrown in jail in China for "revealing state secrets."

In a twist worthy of George Orwell's "1984," many of the laws and regulations that make up the state-secret regime here are themselves classified, making it difficult for individuals to know how and when they're in violation.

"They say they don't interfere with what you write on the Internet, but they can call whatever they want a state secret," said Gao Qinsheng, 61, whose son, Shi Tao, has been imprisoned since 2004 on charges of "illegally supplying state secrets abroad."

"It's a conspiracy. They can use these at will to punish people," she added.

In a report released today, New York-based Human Rights in China calls on Beijing to create a clear definition of what constitutes a state secret. This, the civic group believes, will help narrow laws that in effect allow Beijing to prosecute anyone it decides is a troublemaker.

The group has called on Beijing to heed China's Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and other basic rights. China, it said, should create an independent review mechanism for secrecy cases, end political interference in the court system and halt the deep-seated culture of secrecy.

"China wants to be a respected member of the international community; that's what the Olympics is about," said Sharon Hom, the group's executive director. "To get international respect, it knows it must do a better job respecting human rights at home and abroad."

Based on its track record, there's very little chance that China is going to enact sweeping democratic reform quickly. But the country faces mounting pressure domestically from a nascent open-government movement and from increasingly frustrated legal and academic communities.

China's secrecy laws grew out of regulations dating to 1951, under Chairman Mao Tse-tung. They since have become an important last line of defense for the post-Mao Communist Party to maintain control in a rapidly evolving nation. Furthermore, the laws allow the Communist leadership to retroactively change its definition of what is secret.

Those who have been snared in the web include Rebiya Kadeer, a successful entrepreneur and advocate of minority rights for the Muslim Uighur minority in western China. Kadeer was arrested in August 1999 on her way to meet a U.S. congressional staffer, shortly after she had sent newspaper clippings to her husband in the United States. This led to her being sentenced to eight years in prison for "illegally providing state secrets overseas."

Kadeer is now living in the U.S. after an international campaign led to her early release on health grounds.

Others have been imprisoned for faxing published information abroad. This is part of an oft-repeated pattern, activists say, where the government imprisons defendants on a technicality rather than for their perceived transgression: challenging state authority.

In October 2003, Zheng Enchong, a lawyer working to help people thrown out of their Shanghai homes by well-connected developers, was sentenced to three years in prison after faxing a newspaper article and account of a police crackdown to Human Rights in China. Released in 2006, he remains under close supervision.

And Tohti Tunyaz, an ethnic Uighur working on a University of Tokyo doctorate on Beijing's policies toward ethnic minorities, was arrested in 1998. He received an 11-year sentence for "illegally procuring state secrets," reportedly for obtaining 50-year-old records from a library. He remains at the Urumqi No. 3 Prison, slated for release in February 2009.

Balancing the need for national security against the protection of human rights is something governments around the world struggle with, particularly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Defenders of China's secrecy regime say the system is needed, given the country's huge population and unique conditions. Furthermore, they add, the secrecy regime is changing in keeping with the nation's development.

"Some academics and overseas organizations don't follow the rules because they don't understand them and conclude they're used to persecute dissidents," said Lin Zhe, a professor of law and human rights at the Central Party School in Beijing. "The system is also becoming more tolerant. If academics said some things a few decades ago that they do now, they would be sentenced or shot."

Human rights experts counter, however, that the rules remain repressive and open to abuse. Overly broad laws cast a pall over academic research, policy debate and legal defense, they add.

Gao, the woman whose son is imprisoned, is aware of how blunt a tool China's secrecy laws can be. Her son Shi, who worked for the Dangdai Shangbao daily newspaper in 2004 and wrote Internet essays, attended a briefing that year shortly before the 15th anniversary of the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests. At the meeting, an editor outlined the restrictions on covering events surrounding the anniversary.

Shi took notes and reported the restrictions to an overseas human rights group. The e-mail was traced to Shi with the assistance of Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. Shi was arrested and in 2005 was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Gao said Sunday that she has joined a lawsuit against the parent of Yahoo Holdings, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo Inc., over its alleged cooperation in the case.

"I visit him once a month," said Gao, who has rented a small basement room near Changsha Prison in Hunan province so she can more easily see her son and petition the government on his behalf. "He's not doing so well. He has skin disease, and his stomach is often upset."

Gao questioned the logic of applying state secret charges to her son's case given how many years it's been since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and the fact that even the student leaders of the protests have been released from prison.

"Of course they won't admit it, but these laws are all just an excuse," she said. "It was only because he criticized the government."

mark.magnier@latimes.comOLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008