Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ad turns Olympic torch into shock baton

Mark Sweney,Thursday May 1 2008

This article was first published on on Thursday May 01 2008. It was last updated at 07:43 on May 01 2008.

Link to this video

Amnesty International is launching a hard-hitting ad campaign, featuring an animated character being given electric shocks, to highlight human rights abuses in China in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

The 40-second ad, one of four that will be released online ahead of this summer's Olympiad, shows an animated character receiving shocks from a Taser-like baton by Chinese security officials for holding a placard about human rights.

The electro-baton is then passed on to another animated character who uses it to light the Olympic flame. The baton is then returned to an interrogation for use for torture.

Amnesty is trying to highlight the risks of peacefully protesting in China, citing the case of Ye Guozhu who protested after his house and restaurant were bulldozed to make way for Olympics construction.

The ad closes with the line: "Torturing peaceful protestors does not uphold the Olympic values. Speak up now if you want human rights for China."

"Amnesty is not against the Games but we want people to know what else is happening in China - including the silencing of critics and peaceful protesters - and to join our campaign for urgent human rights reform," said Tim Hancock, UK campaigns director.

Amnesty has set up a website which enables people to send campaigning letters and emails, share content and start their own blog.

The organisation is also releasing a booklet to accompany the film called "The two faces of the Beijing Olympics".

The ads have been made by animation collective Sweetworld TV and have been influenced by characters such as Hello Kitty.

"The characters in the Amnesty China campaign are quite innocent and cuddly," said Yasmeen Ismail of Sweetworld TV. "When something horrific happens the impact is greater because you have built up a bond with them."

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OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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