Monday, October 15, 2007

Boycotts for Beijing 2008 Possible

By Charlotte Cuthbertson
Epoch Times Wellington staff
Oct 15, 2007

Illegal arrests, forced labour camps, brainwashing centres, organ harvesting, torture, murder, forced abortions, child labour, no freedom of press, internet blockades, widespread corruption and nepotism. This is Beijing 2007.

Beijing appears light-years away from the Olympic Charter, which talks of "the harmonious development of man" and "promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity."

Last year Olympic Watch, Reporters Without Borders, International Society for Human Rights, Solidarité Chine and Laogai Research Foundation -- an international coalition of human rights organisations -- wrote a letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee, asking him to "focus on the continuing human rights abuses" in China before Beijing 2008 because they "threaten to damage the Olympic ideals forever."

Rights groups are insinuating the international sporting fraternity are being wooed so successfully by the Chinese regime that they are choosing to ignore glaring violations and international standards.

The coalition are painting Beijing 2008 as a "tool for domestic and international political propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party."

"In 2008, the international sporting movement must refuse to tolerate one of the world's bloodiest dictatorships," they said in a 2006 statement.

When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Beijing the Olympics in 2001 under the obligation of cleaning up their dismal human rights record they also said the IOC would act if human rights commitments by China were not upheld in practice.

Every group monitoring human rights in China has reported a worsening state of human treatment by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 2001.

The CCP continues to execute more people every year than the rest of the world combined; they arbitrarily imprison and torture people who peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression and association; they torture and persecute Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, Chinese Christians and Falun Gong practitioners; and they have tightened media control and censorship of foreign and native journalists.

Some 1.5 million Chinese have been forced from their homes during preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, a rights group said last week. Most residents are evicted without compensation and those who dare to protest are often persecuted.

According to a Reporters Without Borders report Vice-Prime minister Li Lanqing stated, four days after the IOC's vote, that "China's Olympic victory" should incite the country to preserve its "healthy life", especially by fighting against the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

In May this year a leaked document from China's Public Security Bureau detailed a list of 43 categories of people under 11 groups to be barred from going anywhere near the Olympics – including Falun Gong practitioners, those linked to the Dalai Lama, and any "threat to social stability".

The international voice calling for a boycott of the 2008 Games is growing louder as events in Sudan and Burma play out.

European Union vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott has opened the debate with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the European Parliament.

"If China does nothing and the persecution [in Burma] continues, the civilized world must seriously consider shunning China by using the Beijing Olympics to send the clear message that such abuses of human rights are not acceptable. It is the one lever the world can use."

In a speech to the US House of Representatives last week Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said, "We are giving the Chinese the ability to hold the Olympics, to cover up, to put a good face on this type of monstrous regime."

Paul McCartney, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney have all expressed concern over the inability of communist regime in China to meet basic human rights standards.

Former Canadian MP and champion of the Human Rights Torch Relay, the Hon David Kilgour said if the regime expects people to sponsor and attend the Games they have to realise that people all over the world are getting "more and more concerned that this could be a repetition of the Berlin Games in 1936".

"Hitler lightened up the persecution of different groups in Germany while the Games were coming up and during the Games - but as soon as the foreigners left town the persecution got even worse. And that, of course, is a worry all of us have for the Falun Gong community and many other groups within China."

Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner Dr Sev Ozdowski said if the international community had boycotted the Berlin Olympics in 1936 it was likely the Holocaust could have been averted.

"It is time to act now," he warned about the Beijing Games in 2008.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

1 comment:

mgifford said...

Interesting to find this site after posting my analysis of boycott reasons/potential for China.

Let's just remember that there are a lot of global powers with blood on their hands these days. Mind you the Olympics is a good reason to point out the problem and call for immediate action.