Beijing Olympics

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China’s Human Rights Record Continues to Haunt Olympics

August 08, 2008 05:57 AM
by Shannon Firth
Despite the pageantry of Friday’s opening ceremonies, reports of rising human rights abuses have dampened international enthusiasm.

30-Second Summary

In recent weeks, China has attempted to make over its homeless, ditch dog meat from restaurant menus, and clear its notorious smog, to present a glowing image at the 2008 Olympic Games. But, according to Amnesty International, China has also stepped up its human rights abuses.

Roseann Rife of Amnesty International said in a report released July 28 that “The Chinese authorities are tarnishing the legacy of the Games. They must release all imprisoned peaceful activists, allow foreign and national journalists to report freely and make further progress towards the elimination of the death penalty.”

Beijing has responded that people who understand China would not agree. According to the BBC, Beijing spokesman Li Jianchao said Amnesty International should “take off the tainted glasses … and see China in a fair and objective way.”

China’s attempts to clamp down on dissenters before the games begin, however, have not been peaceful. The International Herald Tribune reports that factory worker Yang Chunlin was arrested after he gathered 10,000 signatures for a petition demanding property rights for farmers in the northeastern city of Jiamusi. His letter, posted on the Internet, was titled “We want human rights, not the Olympics.” His family says he was subsequently tortured.

And, according to the Telegraph, 80 members of Falun Gong—“a quasi-Buddhist movement” that was banned in the country eight years ago—were arrested in a town south of Beijing just before the torch arrived. McClatchy has reported that the government continues to expel other “undesirables.”

Headline Link: Amnesty International speaks out

Related Topics: Dissenters jailed as opening ceremonies approach

Opinions & Analysis: Demand change, or applaud the effort?

Background: Beijing prepares for the Games

Reference: Amnesty International report


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