Many thanks to Have Fun Do Good blog here
The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing is providing leverage for Tibetan, Darfurian, Burmese and Chinese human rights campaigns:
The International Campaign for Tibet created the Race for Tibet. According to their site:
"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Beijing the 2008 Olympic Games in 2001, disregarding international criticism of China's human rights record. Both the IOC and the Chinese have argued that the Games will "improve human rights in China" and therefore Tibet. However, as we approach the Games, human rights violations remain systematic and widespread, and China has implemented new restrictions on the media and freedom of information. We believe China and the IOC should be held accountable to the promises they made during Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics."The Race for Tibet is asking supporters to sign a petition to Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, to hold Beijing to the standards of the Olympic Truce:
"- raise awareness and encourage political leaders to act in favour of peace;Olympic Dream for Darfur's mission is to urge China to, "use its leverage to persuade the Sudanese government to consent immediately to a civilian protection force in Darfur." They've organized an international Olympic Torch Relay which began on August 9 in Chad, near the Darfur border, and will finish in China in January. Here is the route for the relay so far:
- mobilise youth for the promotion of the Olympic ideals;
- establish contacts between communities in conflict;
- offer humanitarian support in countries at war"
- Darfur - August 9 (press release; photos; video)
- Kigali, Rwanda - August 15 (press release; photos; press conference)
- Yerevan, Armenia - September 25 (press release; photos; press conference)
- Berlin, Germany - November 29
- Sarajevo, Bosnia - December 6-7
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia - January 18-20, 2008
- People's Republic of China - January, date TBD
Lisa of ENOUGH writes in, Tell Companies Sponosoring the Chinese Olympics that Darfur is Not 'Business is Usual', "we believe that the more voices that are raised, the more hope there is for peace in Darfur. The Olympics belong to all of us, and in the face of genocide, anyone in a position of influence must try to act."
The US Campaign for Burma is asking for a boycott of the Games:
"China is paralyzing UN Security Council action on Burma. They are the main economic, military, and political supporters of the military junta. For fifteen years China has refused to press its closest ally to allow its people human rights, and used its veto power to block the UN Security Council from acting. As a result, the UN is making the same mistakes it made on Darfur and Rwanda. We are calling on people of conscience throughout the world to boycott the 2008 Chinese Olympics."Claire of Free Aung San Suu Kyi! points out that the Olympics' start date, August 8, 2008, is the, "the 20th anniversary of the massacre of peaceful democracy activists in Burma."
Reporters Without Borders is asking China to do nine things before the Games start:
"1. Release all journalists and Internet users detained in China for exercising their right to information.
2. Abolish forever the restrictive articles in the Foreign Correspondents Guide that limit the media’s freedom of movement and work.
3. Disband the Publicity Department (the former Propaganda Department), which exercises daily control over content in the Chinese press.
4. End the jamming of foreign radio stations.
5. End the blocking of thousands of news and information websites based abroad.
6. Suspend the '11 Commandments of the Internet,' which lead to content censorship and self-censorship on websites.
7. End the blacklisting of journalists and human rights activists, which prevents them from visiting China.
8. Lift the ban on Chinese media using foreign news agency video footage and news reports without permission.
9. Legalize independent organisations of journalists and human rights activists."
Human Rights Watch has more information about human rights issues in China and links to other human rights organizations and campaigns like Olympic Watch and PlayFair2008. HRW is encouraging bloggers to use their blogs as a, "bully pulpit to stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, uphold basic freedoms, protect people from inhumane treatment in wartime, and campaign to bring offenders to justice."Amnesty International has created a press kit for reporters covering the Olympics.
Requests for change are coming from within China as well.
According to the Students for Free Tibet International's blog, the Chinese government arrested a Chinese activist, Yang Chunlin, who had collected 10,000 signatures for a petition entitled, “We want human rights, not the Olympics.”