Sunday, February 17, 2008

2 million Chinese kicked out of homes for Olympics

EXCLUSIVE SUNDAY Mirror INVESTIGATES Families are driven from their homes for sake of China Olympics Houses razed to make way for £200m stadium and city parks 40,000 jailed and tortured for protesting about losing everything

Chinese Demonstration (SM) Chinese Demonstration (SM)

Mirror UK: Gleaming and amazing, China's £200million Olympics stadium is shown to the world as a proud symbol of the country's dramatic change.

But two million people driven from their homes for this summer's Beijing Games could tell a different story... if they were allowed.

A tale of how their lives have been ruined for the sake of their rulers' Olympic dream.

Of how their houses have been torn down with just a month's notice.

And how those who have dared to complain have been tortured and jailed.

More than 40,000 people have been arrested for organising protests at the way lives in China's capital have been destroyed. Many have been treated brutally by police.

And more than 200,000 have had to live on the streets while they seek a new home - in towns and cities miles from their old ones.

But Prime Minister Gordon Brown saw no sign of them on his visit to Beijing last month. Before he arrived police swept them from the streets.

Last night Amnesty International UK protested to the Chinese Embassy in London over the treatment of citizens such as Ye Guozhu, evicted with his wife and son.

He was told their home was to be razed to make way for a park to beautify the capital for the Games. There was no offer of compensation and no advice on where they could live. Ye, 38, began planning a 10,000-strong protest.

When the police learned of the plan, Ye was arrested and beaten unconscious. He woke up in a grubby cell.

When Ye refused to admit he was guilty of stirring unrest, he was beaten and tortured with electric batons, then bound to a chair for 23 hours a day. He finally "confessed" and was jailed for four years.

Ye's 17-year-old son, Ye Mingjun, said: "We have filed appeals against his sentence but the court always refuses to accept the case as they say my father must sign the papers in person. But he can't - he is in jail and we have no contact with him."

Six months ago, 200 men and women due to be evicted for the Games chained themselves to their homes. All were sent to "labour re-education camps" for five weeks.

The scandal of China's displaced millions is just one of many human rights failures in a country likely to be the world's biggest economy by 2020.

Last month the Sunday Mirror revealed how the one-child policy was leading to forced sterilisations, with children being sold by traffickers and parents who dared to break the rule being beaten.

And last week movie director Steven Spielberg quit as the Games' artistic director in protest at China's failure to act over the brutality in Darfur, Sudan - whose leaders it supports. China also carries out more executions than any other country - more than 7,000 a year.

But the story of Chinese citizens losing their homes has remained largely unheard as the government tries to silence dissent.

Three people are reported to have died campaigning for justice - but experts say the number is likely to be far higher.

Amnesty International UK campaigns director Tim Hancock said: "China promised that hosting the Olympics would improve human rights.

"But people have lost their homes and their livelihoods to make way for Olympic venues. Those who complain have lost their liberty too."

Beijing 2008

Protester was beaten unconscious and tortured with electric baton

200 who chained themselves to homes were sent to labour camp

Thousands left with nowhere to go have to live on the streets

Gordon Brown didn't see them - they were rounded up in advance

'Shocking truth was hidden from Brown'

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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