Newswire Services - October 29, 2007 - A coalition of human rights groups held a news conference on Thursday in front of the Tournament of Roses headquarters asking the association to deny China's presentation of an Olympic float in the forthcoming Tournament of Roses Parade. In the letter, the coalition recommends the Tournament of Roses include the Human Rights Torch relay (humanrightstorch.org) in the Rose Parade and emphasized their position that Beijing should not be allowed to present an Olympic float in the Rose Parade. Such a float will legitimize Beijing’s wanton disregard of the Olympic spirit and ethical values, they said, and will divert attention from its unfulfilled promise to the International Olympics Committee that it will improve human rights conditions in China before the 2008 Olympics Games. The following letter was delivered to the chairman of Tournament of Roses Association by a Pasadena police officer:
Dear Chairman C.L. Keedy and Board of the Tournament of Roses Association:
We, a coalition of human rights groups, re-emphasize our position that Beijing should not be allowed to present an Olympic float in the Rose Parade. Such a float will legitimize Beijing’s wanton disregard of the Olympic spirit and ethical values, and will divert attention from its unfulfilled promise to the International Olympics Committee that it will improve human rights conditions in China before the 2008 Olympics Games.
The Beijing Olympic Games is the only Olympics awarded to a host based on that host’s promise of human rights improvement. Since the Chinese regime made that promise in 2001, China’s human rights condition has deteriorated to the point that it permits the harvesting vital organs from live victims. Furthermore, China has supported repressive regimes such as Sudan, North Korea, and Burma, plunging people there to horrendous human rights conditions.
The Olympic Charter proclaims that the "goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity," and that any "form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement." The Beijing Olympics Games, however, represents just the opposite of those principles, and like the 1936 Nazi Olympics, is an Olympics of Shame. The 2008 Olympics will be not a celebration of but rather a mockery of the Olympics spirit.
As a true celebration of humanity, we recommend that the Human Rights Torch be included in the Rose Parade. Starting from Athens, the Human Rights Torch relay has now been carried by citizens through 30 European countries. Presently, the torch is in Great Britain and it is expected that the torch will arrive in Pasadena in time for the 2008 Rose Parade.
Former president of the Czech Republic, Mr. Vaclav Havel, stated on Sept. 5, 2007 that "I support the human rights torch activity, I think this is the hope of our world. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) put huge investments and prepared lots of Olympics projects to cover its persecution of human rights. CCP didn't fulfill the commitment made in the process of Olympic application, that is to improve China's human rights. Hence, it is extremely necessary to make the CCP obey with this promise now."
Torch carrier Pelle Pettersson, Swedish Olympic medalist in sailing, 1964 and 1972, stated, "When one hears about how serious the situation is in China, and there is a possibility to influence the Chinese authorities through activities like this so that the lives of the people can improve, I will definitely support it."
If the Tournament of Roses is to permit the Beijing Olympics float, we urge you to include the Human Rights Torch as a reminder that the PRC government has yet to keep the promises it made to the IOC.