Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.Go to Columnist Page »
Thursday, January 31, 2008
(IsraelNN.com) Rabbi David Druckman, the Chief Rabbi of the northern city of Kiryat Motzkin and an outspoken opponent of Land of Israel withdrawals, says Jews must take the lead in condemning China for its murder of prisoners of conscience in order to harvest their organs.
"The atrocity is so great," Rabbi Druckman says on a recently released video, "that there are simply no words to express it. From a certain standpoint it is even worse than what the Nazis did... to cut organs from people under the cover of medical help for other people is simply astonishing and shocking from every human vantage point."
"It is especially incumbent upon us as Jews to lead the campaign that expresses total disgust at this phenomenon," Rabbi Druckman says. "Especially us, the Jewish Nation, that suffered the crimes of the Nazis, may their names be blotted out, and those of the Communists under Stalin - who can stand by and comprehend the world's silence at all this?"
Israeli Petition Against Chinese Cruelty
Three months ago, over 220 Israeli rabbis, academics and politicians signed a petition calling for an end to the atrocities taking place in China. Among the signatories were 8 Knesset Members (Hendel and Levy from National Union, Melchior and Cabel from Labor, Kachlon of Likud, and Oron, Gal'on and Vilan of Meretz).
Over 40 rabbis signed, including Rabbis Chaim Druckman, Shlomo Aviner, Yuval Cherlow, Shmuel David of Afula, as well as Temple Mount loyalist rabbis, Moshe Feiglin and leaders of his Jewish Leadership group, and more.
China is accused of holding thousands of political prisoners without trial, beating and torturing people who protest being thrown out of their homes, employing slave labor for their mass manufacturing industries, and more. Among the most persecuted groups are the Falun Gong, which numbers at least 70 million members in China alone. Tens of thousands of practitioners of the Falun Gong system of meditation and character-building are ruthlessly persecuted by the government, including having organs removed from their bodies while still alive.
The CIPFG - Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China - has begun a campaign against holding the 2008 Olympics in China. "It will be a stain on the history of the Olympic Games and a disgrace to mankind if these games and these crimes against humanity are held at the same time in China," the organization states.
In the video-taped speech, Rabbi Druckman says that one of the seven Noachide commandments that the Jews are bidden to disseminate in the world is not to murder: "We as Jews must therefore stand at the front lines of this war, and employ every possible tactic in order that the world expunge atrocities such as this."
"When there is evil in the world," he continues, "every person with a human conscience, and every person with intelligence, must protest against it... Jewish Law requires of us to spread values of faith in the Creator and of maintaining the human image throughout the world. The same Torah that tells us to keep the Sabbath and to eat only Kosher food, also requires that we influence all of mankind - as is written, 'From Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.'"
"We have to get our outraged objections, as people and as Jews, out to the world in every way possible... In this age of media, there are many methods, such as the torch passing through the countries of the world and will soon get to our region as well, ending with a giant rally here in Israel [on Feb. 18 - ed.]. It is obvious that we all support this initiative and welcome it. We must also do whatever will result in a sharp condemnation of these animals that are doing these things in China. This will help raise the standard of the entire human race in the world, and the more the world improves and becomes more gentle, this will bring us closer to the Redemption and the arrival of the Just Redeemer."
Religious - Not Just in Dress, but in Thought
"I believe that behind the description we carry of 'religious people' there is also real content - not just outer covering, but a genuine way of looking at the world... Certainly this is so in the Jewish faith, whose teachings about ethics and kindness have no rivals... Certainly one who sees himself as a religious person, not just in title but in essence, must join up with activities of this type."
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
China moves to quash dissent as Games nearBy Jim Yardley New York Times News Service / January 30, 2008
BEIJING - When state security agents burst into his apartment on Dec. 27, Hu Jia was chatting on Skype, the Internet-based telephone system. Hu's computer was his most potent tool. He disseminated information about human rights cases, peasant protests, and other politically touchy topics even though he often lived under de facto house arrest.
more stories like this
Hu, 34, and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, are human rights advocates who spent much of 2006 restricted to their apartment in a complex with the unlikely name of Bo Bo Freedom City. She blogged about life under detention, while he videotaped a documentary titled "Prisoner in Freedom City." Their surreal existence seemed to reflect an official uncertainty about how, and whether, to shut them up.
That ended on Dec. 27. Hu was dragged away on charges of subverting state power while Zeng was bathing their newborn daughter, Qianci. Telephone and Internet connections to the apartment were severed. Mother and daughter are now under house arrest. Qianci, barely 2 months old, is probably the youngest political prisoner in China.
For human rights advocates and Chinese dissidents, Hu's detention is the most telling example of what they describe as a broadening crackdown on dissent as Beijing prepares to stage the Olympic Games in August. In recent months, several dissidents have been jailed, including a former factory worker in northeastern China who collected 10,000 signatures after posting an online petition titled "We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics."
"This is a coordinated cleansing campaign," said Teng Biao, a legal specialist who has known Hu since 2006. "All the troublemakers, including potential troublemakers, are being silenced before the Olympic Games."
With fewer than 200 days before the Aug. 8 opening ceremonies, Beijing is in the full throes of preparations. Roads and subway lines are being completed, and the city's new sports stadiums are nearly finished. But with more than 20,000 journalists expected for the Games, Beijing is also tightening controls over information.
Early this month, authorities announced that only state-sanctioned companies would be allowed to broadcast video and audio files on the Internet, although the practical effect of this edict remains unclear. China has also extended a crackdown on Internet pornography and "unhealthy" content that some rights groups consider a tool for arresting online dissidents. China has jailed 51 online dissidents - more than any other country - and last year blocked more than 2,500 websites, according to Reporters Without Borders, a press-freedom advocacy group.
Hu used his own website to post updates about other dissidents or peasant protests. He also did not hesitate to describe his semiregular encounters with the police and state security officers assigned to monitor him.
"The police force mobilized is much, much larger than before," Hu told Agence France-Presse in October as the Communist Party clamped down on dissidents during an important political meeting. "Now, they just arrest people very publicly and arbitrarily, without the necessary legal procedures."
Last year, Hu became involved in the case of Yang Chunlin, the former factory worker who organized the "We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics" petition drive as part of an effort to help local farmers seek legal redress over confiscated land. Yang was arrested last summer and charged with subverting state power, according to human rights groups.
Hu told Agence France-Presse that Yang's arrest was part of a government effort to "clean up" politically touchy cases before the Games.
"I'm helping Yang Chunlin to hire a lawyer," Hu said. "The authorities have threatened Yang's family and relatives. Yang's wife dares not speak to anyone because of the threats."
Hu also participated via Webcam in a European Union parliamentary hearing in November in Brussels about human rights. He said China had failed to meet its Olympic promise of improving human rights.
Rebecca MacKinnon, who teaches journalism and media studies at the University of Hong Kong, said that any Olympic host country faces domestic critics of the Games and that such dissent is usually freely discussed in the public arena. She said efforts by security agencies to round up critics and other dissidents made the Communist Party look insecure and would backfire in the court of international opinion.
Others who have been detained in recent months include Liu Jie, a protester of land issues in Beijing; Gao Zhisheng, an outspoken lawyer; and Lu Gengsong, an online dissident in Zhejiang Province.
"It shows that China is once again shooting itself in the foot," said MacKinnon, a cofounder of Global Voices Online, a nonprofit forum for bloggers.
"This is very predictable," she added. "Hu Jia is not an opponent of the Olympics. He has just been saying: 'We have problems. Our government needs to address them. As an Olympics host, we need to be treating our people better.' "
If the authorities hoped Hu's arrest would bring more silence, the opposite has happened. More than 60 intellectuals signed a public petition calling for his release.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Guardian UK: Free Tibet Campaign urging public figures to stay away
Owen Bowcott - Monday January 28, 2008 -
Prince Charles won't be going to Beijing in August. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Prince Charles has confirmed to the London-based Free Tibet Campaign that he has no plans to attend the opening ceremony in the Chinese capital. The Prince has not received a formal invitation but has recently been courted by the Chinese Ambassador in London in a bid to improve relations.
Prince Charles' public support for the Dalai Lama, Tibet's independent spiritual leader, and his disparaging remarks about Chinese officials at the handover of Hong Kong have been a public embarrassment for Beijing. In leaked diaries, written during in 1997, the Prince notoriously referred to senior Chinese officials as "appalling old waxworks".
The Free Tibet Campaign, which opposes the Chinese occupation of the Himalyan country, is not calling for athletes to stay away from the summer's Olympics. But it is hoping to encourage public figures to declare that they will stay away in protest at human rights abuses and China's refusal to grant Tibet independence.
"We are not calling for any sort of boycott by the athletes, they have been training for years," said Anne Holmes, director of the Free Tibet Campaign. "What we would like to see is as many as possible high profile public figures making a principled decision to stop at home - and watch it on TV. We would hope this would include Gordon Brown, who has been invited to go back to Beijing for the Olympics. We can't say what Prince Charles is thinking but Clarence House [the Prince's London residence] has written back to us to confirm that he is still very friendly towards Tibet."
The Prince has met the Dalai Lama several times. In a letter to the campaign, Clive Alderton, his deputy private secretary, confirmed the Prince would not attend the opening ceremony. "As you know, His Royal Highness has long taken a close interest in Tibet and indeed has been pleased to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama on several occasions," he wrote. "You asked if the Prince of Wales would be attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. His Royal Highness will not be attending the ceremony."
Publication of the letter is likely to be regretted by the government, which has attempted to build strong economic and cultural ties with the China. A spokeswoman for Clarence House told The Guardian yesterday: "There are no current plans for [the Prince] to go to the Olympics. As a rule he doesn't attend. He went when the Princess Royal was competing in Montreal in 1976. The Prince of Wales ... takes an interest in the siuation in Tibet and he hopes as long term peaceful solution will be reached after some dialogue."
Both Princess Anne, who is president of the British Olympic Association, and Prince Edward are likely to go to Beijing.
Last month Tibetan exiles failed to convince the International Olympic Committee that they should allow their athletes to compete as an independent national team under the title 'Team Tibet'. The country has been occupied by Chinese troops since 1950.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Beijing Olympics this summer were supposed to be China’s coming-out party, celebrating the end of nearly two centuries of weakness, poverty and humiliation.
On the Ground
Instead, China’s leaders are tarnishing their own Olympiad by abetting genocide in Darfur and in effect undermining the U.N. military deployment there. The result is a growing international campaign to brand these “The Genocide Olympics.”
This is not a boycott of the Olympics. But expect Darfur-related protests at Chinese Embassies, as well as banners and armbands among both athletes and spectators. There’s a growing recognition that perhaps the best way of averting hundreds of thousands more deaths in Sudan is to use the leverage of the Olympics to shame China into more responsible behavior.
The central problem is that in exchange for access to Sudanese oil, Beijing is financing, diplomatically protecting and supplying the arms for the first genocide of the 21st century. China is the largest arms supplier to Sudan, officially selling $83 million in weapons, aircraft and spare parts to Sudan in 2005, according to Amnesty International USA. That is the latest year for which figures are available.
China provided Sudan with A-5 Fantan bomber aircraft, helicopter gunships, K-8 military training/attack aircraft and light weapons used in Sudan’s proxy invasion of Chad last year. China also uses the threat of its veto on the Security Council to block U.N. action against Sudan so that there is a growing risk of a catastrophic humiliation for the U.N. itself.
Sudan feels confident enough with Chinese backing that on Jan. 7, the Sudanese military ambushed a clearly marked U.N. convoy of peacekeepers in Darfur. Sudan claimed the attack was a mistake, but diplomats and U.N. professionals are confident that this was a deliberate attack ordered by the Sudanese leaders to put the U.N. in its place.
Sudan has already barred units from Sweden, Norway, Nepal, Thailand and other countries from joining the U.N. force. It has banned night flights, dithered on a status-of-forces agreement, held up communications equipment and refused to allow the U.N. to bring in foreign helicopters. The growing fear is that the U.N. force will be humiliated in Sudan as it was in Rwanda and Bosnia, causing enormous damage to international peacekeeping.
Another possible sign of Sudan’s confidence: an American diplomat, John Granville, was ambushed and murdered in Khartoum early this month. Many in the diplomatic and intelligence community believe that such an assassination could not happen in Khartoum unless elements of the government were involved.
Chinese officials argue that they are engaging in quiet diplomacy with Sudan’s leaders and that this is the best way to seek a solution in Darfur. They note that Sudan has other backers, and that China’s influence is limited.
It is true that since the start of the “Genocide Olympics” campaign (www.dreamfordarfur.org) a year ago, China has been more helpful, and it’s only because of Chinese pressure on Khartoum that U.N. peacekeepers were admitted to Darfur at all. But the basic reality is that China continues to side with Sudan — it backed Sudan again after it ambushed the U.N. peacekeepers — and Sudan feels protected enough that it goes on thumbing its nose at the international community.
Just a few days ago, Sudan appointed Musa Hilal, a founding leader of the Arab militia known as the janjaweed, to a position in the central government. This is the man who was once quoted as having expressed gratitude for “the necessary weapons and ammunition to exterminate the African tribes in Darfur.”
Other countries also must do much more, but China is crucial. If Beijing were to suspend all transfers of arms and spare parts to Sudan until a peace deal is reached in Darfur, then that would change the dynamic. President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan would be terrified — especially since he is now preparing to resume war with South Sudan — and would realize that China is no longer willing to let its Olympics be stained by Darfuri blood.
Without his Chinese shield, Mr. Bashir would be more likely to make concessions to Darfur rebels and negotiate seriously with them, and he would no longer have political cover to resume war against South Sudan. That would make long-term peace more likely in Darfur and also in South Sudan.
I’m a great fan of China’s achievements, and I’ve often defended Beijing from unfair protectionist rhetoric spouted by American politicians. But those of us who admire China’s accomplishments find it difficult to give credit when Beijing simultaneously underwrites the ultimate crime of genocide.
China deserves an international celebration to mark its historic re-emergence as a major power. But so long as China insists on providing arms to sustain a slaughter based on tribe and skin color, this will remain, sadly, The Genocide Olympics.
HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- With a year to go before the 2008 Olympics get under way, questions linger over China's efforts to improve its human rights record.
Observers and pressure groups have criticized the efforts of the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since Beijing won the bid in 2001, rejecting assertions by both that the Games will lead to lasting positive change in the world's most populous nation.
After praising Beijing's preparations as "excellent across the board," the IOC official charged with overseeing Beijing's preparations, Hein Verbruggen, sparked further anger from advocacy groups with his recent comments that, "...the way the Games are being used as a platform for groups with political and social agendas is often regrettable.''
The International Federation for Human Rights claimed his remarks will "embolden'' hard-line elements within the Chinese Communist Party to ignore international pressure over human rights promises. But the IOC says, there is a widespread misconception that a list of "human rights promises'' was ever sought by the IOC in the first place.
"There were some declarations made by senior Chinese leaders in Beijing who raised the human-rights question proactively and talked about how the Games would be part of the process to help human rights development," says IOC's director of communications Giselle Davies,. "But that was never a [piece of] criteria on which the IOC judged and assessed Beijing's bid.
"The IOC decision is not made in a political or social context. It is very much based around what is a coming together at a sporting event and everything for which that can be a catalyst for," Davies adds.
And that, she believes, is a force for good. "The IOC fundamentally believes that the world will look back and see the Games as a key moment along a period of change and development for good in China," she says.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has sharply criticized Beijing. On Thursday, the organization said China's government has failed to live up to pre-Olympics promises of greater human rights freedoms and has instead clamped down on domestic activists and journalists, according to reports from The Associated Press.
"The government seems afraid that its own citizens will embarrass it by speaking out about political and social problems, but China's leaders apparently don't realize authoritarian crackdowns are even more embarrassing," Brad Adams, Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement carried by the AP
On first glance it would appear Beijing is sensitive to certain international concerns. In June, Chinese officials and the IOC moved quickly to launch an investigation into allegations by the advocacy group Playfair 2008 that four official souvenir makers were using child labor. Earlier that month, Beijing took the landmark step of allowing the mother of a victim of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown to mark the anniversary of his death publicly.
But others believe that since 2001 there has been a tightening of controls on political dissent and freedom of speech, as Beijing has sought to contain the social and political fall-out from the country's breakneck economic development.
The IOC says, for example, that the Olympic Games has led to improvements in China's labor system in which workers endure long hours in harsh conditions for less than the legal minimum wage.
Han Dongfang, the Hong Kong-based labor rights activist for the China Labour Bulletin organization, which monitors workers' rights in China, insists "It's about markets and it's about cheap labor ... Labor rights have become worse over the past few years.''
He says that any real change in China can only come from the inside as a result of pressure from workers and the development of free trade unions and the right to collective bargaining -- and not from international pressure.
"The Chinese leadership does not care about international pressure. It is not China who is knocking at the door of the international community looking for favors -- it is the other way around,'' Han says.
The IOC says "enormous'' progress has been made in terms of the freedom the news media will have to report on the Olympics, following the 2001 pledge by the secretary general of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee Wang Wei. "We will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China," he said at the time.
Not so, says veteran China scholar Willy Wo Lap Lam, author of the recently published "Chinese Politics in the Hu Jintao Era."
"The police and secret police departments in every city have lists of dissidents and 'dangerous' people who are not supposed to talk to the western media," Lam says.
"So, instead of following these Western reporters around, the police will simply post more 'guards' outside the dwellings of 'suspect' people in each city and county. They will ensure they can't talk or work with western journalists.''
Professor Joseph Cheng of Hong Kong's City University agrees with Lam. "China's only concern as far as the Olympics is concerned is to showcase itself to the international community. To this end it will treat foreign journalists and visitors very well - but all the troublemakers will 'disappear'," he says.
"Twenty years ago they put trouble-makers under harsh house arrest or worse. Today, they give them a holiday. Either way, they won't be speaking to foreign journalists.''
Lam adds that any pledges Beijing did actually make does not necessarily mean human rights will improve. "The main pledges made by Beijing are clearing up the environment and curbing traffic jams. Both of these are achievable through draconian methods," Lam says.
Furthermore, while the world-at-large may be expecting an Olympics-led metamorphosis, the reality is very different, he says.
"Beijing will not relax controls over dissidents, NGOs as well as 'agitators' for Tibet or Xinjiang. There will be tighter surveillance of potential troublemakers," Lam says.
"The South Korean Olympics in 1988 marked the beginning of genuine political liberalization. For China, it is a very different story. The Chinese Communist Party sees the Games as an opportunity to show the world China's great achievements in the economy and infrastructure and to demonstrate their diplomatic clout. Internally, the Games will help the Party foster 'internal cohesiveness' using national pride to justify the Party's ruling status."No Chinese Communist Party leader wants to use the Games as a juncture to push forward reforms.''
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Belgian athletes will be prohibited from raising human rights or other political issues at Olympic venues during the Beijing Games. Outside the sports venues and Olympic village, however, they will be free to speak their mind.
The Belgian Olympic Committee said Wednesday it would issue a strict code of conduct for athletes competing in Beijing.
"Not a single participant in the games will be allowed to give a political opinion at the Olympic venues (e.g.: competition sites and the Olympic village)," the committee said in a statement.
The committee also ruled that Olympic athletes would be barred from wearing any distinctive insignia protesting China's human rights record.
However, the committee said athletes would be free to talk about "issues that are personally relevant" outside the Olympic venues and during the six-month run-up to the games.
As the games draw near, the issue of human rights in China is increasingly prominent in the European media and several Olympic committees are pondering how to address the issue.
Last week, the Dutch government said China's human rights record must improve and that the Beijing Olympics should be used as an opportunity to press for change. China has already come out against raising political issues during the games.
In Europe, several activists have called for a boycott of the games to protest China's human rights record. Protests usually center on the treatment of the spiritual movement Falun Gong, which is banned in China, and activists defending the cause of an independent Tibet.
The Belgian committee said it was "utterly convinced that the games would have a positive influence on the social development of a country like China."
Friday, January 18, 2008
Yorkshire Post, UK - THE Government wants it both ways on sport boycotts. It is trying to ban Zimbabwe's cricket team from a UK tour but wants to hang on to Zimbabwe – and other sympathetic African countries especially South Africa – for the 2012 London Olympics.
In a world clamouring for democracy and the universal value of human rights, Britain could give a lead by arguing for a switch of all future games to Athens, home of the Olympics and a 2004 spectacular (and saving us £10 billion in the process) – as well as saying no to Zimbabwe's cricketers.
Unlike sanctions, boycotts work and yes, sport, politics and religion are inevitably mixed.
"The situation in Zimbabwe is obviously deeply concerning. I think that bilateral cricket tours at the moment don't send the right message about our concern", foreign secretary David Miliband said the other week.
But in a House of Lords debate on human rights in China, in which Moscow Olympics silver medallist Lord Moynihan referred to my Beijing boycott campaign, government spokesman Lord Malloch-Brown sidestepped the issue, although every speaker referred to China's ghastly record, of an order of magnitude greater than Zimbabwe's.
The Mugabe regime has "cleared" nearly 100,000 homes, allowed mass hunger, destitution of the economy and is guilty of scores of deaths.
When ITV broadcast a series of horrifying reports from Zimbabwe last autumn, the government began all sorts of back-stairs deals, some through sports bodies, to put off the cricket tour.
The truth is that sport is now a high-profile commercial activity with an unprecedented impact on the public.
So much so that Pope Benedict recently gave football his blessing and said: "Soccer should increasingly become a tool for the teaching of life's ethical and spiritual values".
In 2001, making his pitch for the 2008 Olympics, bid spokesman Liu Jingmin argued that: "By allowing Beijing to host the games you
will help the development of
Even though article one of the Olympic Charter insists on "universal fundamental ethical principles" the crackdown by Beijing on dissidents and religions has continued with increased severity.
Last month, the European Parliament unanimously expressed "serious concern" and invited the IOC to make its own assessment of China's compliance with its pledges. Maybe sponsors VISA, Coca Cola and Kodak could ask the questions.
On December 27, Hu Jia, an environmental activist who has publicised Beijing's appalling air quality and the demolition of hundreds of thousands of homes to make way for the Olympics, was taken from his home by 20 policemen.
Another noted dissident, Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng – sometimes called China's Lech Walesa – has disappeared in similar circumstances after an open letter criticising Olympic corruption. I had been in regular contact with both.
Gao is best known for his report on the regime's vast brutality against the Falun Gong "Buddha school" spiritual movement.
Harry Wu, an exiled dissident, runs a US research foundation which estimates that there are about 1,100 penal camps in China's Laogai system with an estimated 6.8 million inmates, most detained without trial.
The UN's torture specialist, Austrian jurist Manfred Nowak, says the majority are Falun Gong practitioners, being "re-educated"
or tortured to recant. Survivors have told me of SS tactics.
At least 3,000 have died under torture since the crackdown on Falun Gong's 70 million practitioners began in 1999 – for no other reason than its popularity as a health-promoting activity.
They are probably the reason why China is switching this month from executions by a shot in the head to lethal injections, as I am told this preserves prisoners' bodies better as a quarry for the army's lucrative organ transplant industry.
Would the 1936 Berlin Olympics have taken place if the world had known about the Nazi's camps?
US Supreme Court judge Felix Frankfurter said of Jan Karski's
reports about the SS camps: "I did not say that this young man was
lying. I said that I was unable to believe what he told me. There is
It is time for the civilised world to wake up to what is really happening in the hidden China, a terror state like no other, which has killed some 80 million of its own people since 1949. Nor should we ignore China's role in Sudan's genocide or her support for other vile African regimes – like Zimb
An Olympic boycott was imposed against South Africa by the IOC itself in 1964 because of apartheid; it worked. In 1980, the US and 60 other countries boycotted the Moscow Olympics because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; within three years the USSR was crumbling.
Those who argue against boycotts say that "being there" matters more: I disagree, it just gives comfort to tyrants.
In 1987, President Reagan bluntly told the South Korean junta that, unless it brought in democracy, the US would boycott the 1988 Seoul Olympics: democracy was introduced.
It is time to stop the humbug in this globalising world: sports boycotts work. And it is time to stop the suffering in both China and Zimbabwe.
Edward McMillan-Scott is Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and Humber and is vice-president of the European Parliament and founder of the EU Democracy and Human Rights Initiative
The full article contains 880 words and appears in n/a newspaper.
Last Updated: 18 January 2008 8:59 AM
Monday, January 14, 2008
Every four years the world looks forward to the Olympics because it is the grand stage that showcases the worlds best sporting talent. The Olympics also brings the world together as one because it is the celebration of the free spirit, international brotherhood and freedom.
Unfortunately, the Beijing Olympics 2008 has come under a cloud because it goes against the basic Olympic spirit of one world, and its gross violations of Human Rights. The communist regime was granted the right to host the Olympic Games after it pledged to adhere to the Olympic charter and improve its human rights record. Instead, its human rights abuses have worsened.
The regimes brutal violation of human rights is demonic. An estimated 100 million Falun Gong practitioners and their families are subject to the most inhuman persecution. (Falun Gong is a mind and body spiritual practice which is practiced in over 80 countries but is banned in China).The communist regime uses Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience as a living organ pool for its lucrative organ transplantation industry. It continues its brutal repression of Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, Uighurs, rights advocates, reporters and defense lawyers. And it supports other totalitarian regimes in perpetrating slaughter upon their citizens - in Darfur, Burma, Zimbabwe, and North Korea.
The same regime that produces hazardous goods that harm or kill children and uses slave labor to produce those goods, lies about SARS and bird flu, and systematically perpetrates forced abortion, torture, brainwashing, and killing. With no rule of law, and money as the only religion, jungle law prevails. Ruthlessness and widespread corruption have created a morally bankrupt state that imperils the world.
Please ask yourself, does a regime responsible for such atrocities be awarded the honor of hosting the Olympic Games? The world cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the 1936 Berlin Olympics hosted by the Nazis.
No athlete wants a black out of a sporting event that is an ultimate dream. It is precisely this aspect that the Chinese communist regime wants to exploit. For a Kenyan Olympian and marathon world-record holder, to save her people from a home turned into a killing field is more important than winning gold. She has called for a boycott of the Olympics. And so have a lot of like minded athletes from all over the world joining in to appeal.
It will be prudent for the Chinese Communist Party not to shrug off this issue. Because, in a similar scenario where human rights were trampled, the 1980 Moscow Olympics was boycotted by no less than 67 nations out of 147 nations to compete.
So if you feel the outrage, remember to copy this email and send it to least 10 people and also send it to the President, Hon. Jacques Rogge, President, International Olympics Committee:
You will be giving Mr. Jacques Rogge a chance to make amends and reconsider his decision. He will at least not have to live with a regret all his life and you will help him change the course of history and save himself from being branded an 'Enemy of the People'.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Authorities have fired an official in central China after city inspectors beat to death a man who filmed their confrontation with villagers, China’s Xinhua news agency reports. The killing has sparked outrage in China, with thousands expressing outrage in Chinese Internet chat rooms, often the only outlet for public criticism of the government. The incident has also alarmed advocates of press freedom, who say municipal authorities had no right to attack a man for simply filming them. Police have detained 24 municipal inspectors and are investigating more than 100 in the death of Wei Wenhua, a 41-year-old construction company executive, Xinhua reported on Friday. On Monday Wei happened on a confrontation in the central Chinese province of Hubei between city inspectors and villagers protesting over the dumping of waste near their homes.
A scuffle developed when residents tried to prevent trucks from unloading the rubbish, Xinhua said. When Wei took out his cell phone to record the protest, more than 50 municipal inspectors turned on him, attacking him for five minutes, Xinhua said. Wei was dead on arrival at a Tianmen hospital, the report said. Qi Zhengjun, chief of the urban administration bureau in the city of Tianmen, lost his job over the incident, Xinhua reported Friday. “Wei is the first ‘citizen journalist’ to die in China because of what he was trying to film,” the group said in a statement. “He was beaten to death for doing something which is becoming more and more common and which was a way to expose law-enforcement officers who keep on overstepping their limits.”
Friday, January 11, 2008
The International Olympic Committee is not the only one worried about Beijing's ability to host the Olympics. Go ask the Falun Gong, Christians, Uyghurs and Tibetans to see what they have to say about years of languishing in jail for their beliefs. Freedom fighters and reporters are in the same boat.
The IOC should make sure that Beijing stops using the Olympics as a tool of repression ahead of the Games.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Thanks Caoimhin's for your effort at exposing the human rights abuses by the Communist Party ahead of the Olympics. "Blogger Boycott" sounds great and I'm with you! Please post this logo on your blog and read all about it...
This graphic and the concept were created by Faithmouse. The idea is to post this graphic on your site and to link to all the others (or as many as you can) who do the same. This crosslinking should boost the graphics’ rating on Google and other search engines thereby raising awareness to the suffering caused by the Chinese government.
Below are the blogs that are joining together for this cause and I will be adding more when others let me know of their participation. Visit Faithmouse for the image and to sign on to the list of bloggers who are trying to make the world a better place. Let me know when you post it!
Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Chinese government “continues to break those promises made to the world to obtain the Olympic Games” and in particular “it is ignoring peoples human rights, using a law as a repressive instrument and censorship as a way to safeguard its own image”. This is why, “all Chinese dissidents ask that concrete steps are taken, which show Beijing’s goodwill: a revision of the infamous article 105 of the penal code”.
This was carried in a statement released this morning by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (Chrd). According to the text, “the arrest of the well known anti-Aids activist Hu Jia, which took place December 27th last, shows that charges of subverting the State, punished by art. 105, serve as a smoke-screen to cover internal criticism of the government”.
Hu Jia is world renowned for his battle to fight the spread of HIV AIDS within the country, a problem the government tries to ignore. Moreover, Hu, has always been active in informing the press regarding the arrest of other activists and has gathered precious information regarding the situation of political detainees. His wife has also been under police surveillance for some time now.
Having lived mostly under house arrest or residential surveillance in the two years leading up to the detention; a few days ago, about 30 police officers broke into Hu Jia’s home and took him away. His wife, fellow activist Zeng Jinyan, is now under house arrest. At least 10 security personnel guard her home. According to his arrest warrant, Hu was detained on article 105. suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”
The Chrd statement maintains that these charges, “show that the law has become an instrument which police use to do what they want. If the government wants to make the world believe in the promises it made then it really has to re-address the text of the law and specify what “subversion” means. Only then will abuse of power and the violation of human rights be avoided”.
The reference is to promises made by the Foreign Minister to the International Olympics Committee during the run up to the assigning of the 2008 Olympics: China committed itself to improving the human rights situation in the country, to reduce pollution and to review its stance on Tibet. So far these promises have been simply ignored.
Chrd underlines that the situation, “is getting worse: currently there are 41 cases of arbitrary and unjustified arrests of Human Rights activists all according to article. 105. As the Games approach it can only be summarised that the grip is tightening even more; anyone who dares criticise the government or denounce the current climate in China risks prison”.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
View an awsome video on the debacle about the Rose Parade Tournament's Communist Float vs the American Human Rights Torch Relay Float. Beijing won--with 200 performers surrounding their $400,000 Olympic float - Made in America! And we have Pasadena's Mayor Bogaard to thank for that one! After he heard testimonies of persecution from the Falun Gong members--who are tortured and even killed in China to coerce them to give up their beliefs or are forced to give their organs to profit the corrupt regime--Bogaard referred to them as allegations! That speaks volume. That's not all, the human rights activists from various organizations protesting this float of shame were accused of playing a political role. Actually the fact that the Communist float was invited to be in the parade in the first place by the Mayor is nothing but short of political. Let's keep on shining the light on Beijing's worsened human rights record and failure to keep their promise. Let's remind everyone that the Chinese regime is unfit to host the Games and that the Games are used as a tool of repression!
January 3, 2008
9:15 AM CONTACT: Amnesty International email@example.com
China: Amnesty International Calls for End to Executions, Not Expansion of Lethal Injection Method
January 3 - Amnesty International today strongly condemned the expansion of China’s lethal injection programme and called on the Chinese authorities to accelerate the abolition of the death penalty.
“This move goes against the spirit of the Olympic Charter for the Beijing Olympics, which places the preservation of human dignity at the heart of the Olympic movement. There is nothing dignified or humane in the state killing of individuals by whatever means,” said Catherine Baber, Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific programme.
It has also taken place just weeks after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.
Amnesty International also challenges Jiang Xingchang’s, vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), to explain how lethal injection execution is more humane than execution by shooting.
“The extension of the lethal injection programme flies in the face of the clear international trend away from using the death penalty and ignores the problems inherent in this punishment. Arbitrary application, miscarriages of justice including execution of the innocent, and the cruel and inhumane nature of the death penalty cannot be solved by changing the method of execution, said Baber.”
According to Amnesty International, lethal injection as a method of execution raises particular concerns. These include:
• Diverting attention from the suffering inherent in the death penalty by suggesting that death by lethal injection is humane. Evidence shows that it can cause convulsions and a prolonged and painful death.
• The potential to cause physical and mental suffering through botched implementation.
• The involvement of health personnel in executions. Virtually all codes of professional
ethics that consider the death penalty oppose medical or nursing participation.
Amnesty International has welcomed the Supreme People's Court review of all death sentences passed in China (in force since January 2007), which is expected to result in the reduction of the number of executions. Yet the lack of transparency in the application of the death penalty in China will make it impossible to assess or verify any change in the number of executions being carried out.
“The Chinese authorities must take concrete steps towards the abolition of death penalty. As a first step, China must make public the actual numbers of people executed and radically cut the number of capital offences. A positive legacy for the Beijing Olympics can only be achieved when China’s world record of executions comes to an end,” said Baber.