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 (www.rsf.org). 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.