Tag Archives: Olympics

China Condemns US Congress Human Rights View

The Chinese government reacted with anger to a US Congressional resolution which condemned its policies on human rights and failure to take action in Myanmar and the Sudan. The American statement was issued in order to ensure the Olympic Games “takes place in an atmosphere that honors the Olympic traditions of freedom and openness.” Congress demanded that President Bush take a strong stand on human rights issues in China. Chinese Foreign MInister spokesman, Liu Jianchao responded with anger: “The United States should firmly curb the odious conduct of a small group of anti-China lawmakers. The resolution itself is blasphemy to the Olympic spirit,and is against the common wishes of people around the world, including people in the United States.” He was furious at what was termed an effort of “politicize” the Olympic Games.

China has the opportunity to take a stand for human rights in Sudan, in Myanmar, and within its own boundaries, but instead its leaders believe making money is always paramount in their conception of foreign policy. China ignores how its action in support of human rights in Zimbabwe could assist efforts to create a coalition government in that nation which would focus on rights of people who have been oppressed. The American Congress is correct in demanding action by China.

Olympic Peace Or Get A Piece Of The Countryside!

Lu Jun, a Chinese activist for hepatitis B rights got off the airplane in Beijing returning from an international conference dealing with the issue he works to cure when he was arrested by the police who wanted to know why he had in his possession a red banner urging the government to address issues of hepatitis B. His web site already has been closed down as part of a government crackdown on any person or group they view as possibly interfering with the Olympic Games. “Everyone knows, ” said Jun, my arrest and closing of the web site was directly connected with the impending opening of the Olympics. Beggars are being rounded up, and petitioners who come to Beijing in hope of obtaining aid to deal with local issues are being sent back home in vans. Wang Lijun, tried coming to Beijing in order to help his father, a WWII veteran, to get pension assistance, but local officials told him not to go.

Sara David of Asia Catalyst, says activists are being warned to keep quiet and not to cause any problems during the Olympic Games. She also believes hotls are bing told not to rent rooms to people from Tibet or from Xinjiang province where Muslim separatists are creating problems. Dechen Pemba, a Tibetan who holds a British passport, was driven to the airport and sent back to the United Kingdom because she had too many Tibetan friends in China.

It is unfortunate that China has yet to realize nations of the world would be proud of the Chinese government if people were waving Tibetan or Hepatitis B banners.

Close Down For Olympics Orders Chinese Government

The Chinese government is taking vigorous action to ensure nothing interferes with the success of the upcoming Olympic Games. The latest action is ordering the closure of hundreds of factories in Beijing as well as in neighboring cities in an effort to make certain the air athletes breathe while participating in events is free of pollution. Businessmen are forecasting the closures will lead to thousands of workers deprived of pay for about eight weeks and steel production will decline by at least 12 %. Car owners will only be allowed use of their vehicles every other day.

A disinterested observer has several questions due to the closures. Is the air breathed by inhabitants of Beijing only to be pure for the Olympics or is the effort to end pollution ongoing? If factories must be closed to prevent air pollution, whey will they reopen once the games conclude? Will being allowed to drive every other day become a norm for car owners? We are simply wondering and asking these questions because if pollution control is important during the Olympics, isn’t it equally important after?

Going To Olympics? Then, Read This!

The Chinese government wants to make clear that any terrorist who plans to attend the Olympic Games is not welcome in China. Foreigners are being provided a special guide which is available online. It makes clear, “foreigners must repsect Chinese laws while in
China and must not harm China’s national security or damge the social order.” For those speaking English, this means don’t you dare make any negative comments about the Chinese government and always praise everything about China. I assume all you foreigners headed for China understand you can’t carry weapons in your bags or any explosives or fireworks, the only firing will be done by Chinese authorities.

There is a special note of apology from Chinese authorities “to the organizations, athletes with disabilities and friends who were offended by our publication.” A 57 question and answer guide is provided to ensure everyone knows who is in charge when people are in China.

I have one question which may or may not be covered in the 57 questions and answers. My question is: Must terrorists register with the Chinese government? Is there a special punishment for terrorists who fail to register? Oh, I have one more question: Can I use the word “Tibet” at any time during my stay in China?

Archbishop Tutu Calls For Olympic Ban

Archbishop Benjamin Tutu called upon nations of the world to refuse attending the Olympic Games in protest for recent outbreaks of violence in Tibet and the refusal of the Chinese government to grant human rights to Tibetans. “For God’s sake,” he told people in San Francisco, “for the sake of our children, the the sake of their children, for the sake of the beautiful people of Tibet– don’t go.” He told Americans to contact “your counterparts in Beijing you wantdd to come but looked at your schedule and realised you have soemthing else to do.” Thousands gathered with him on the streets of San Francisco and shouted: “free Tibet.”

The Olympic Torch will be run through the streets of San Francisco as thousands shout their anger. President Bush insists he will attend the Olympic Games because they are about sports, not politics. s

Human Rights And The Olymic Games

In a Der Spiegel interview with Chinese human rights advocate, Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident raised issues concerning the impact of an Olympic boycott on the fight for freedom in his nation. When asked about the impact of a boycott, he said it “wouldn’t be a good way to punish China. If the Games fail, human rights will suffer. The government would stop paying any attentin to the rest of the world, I personally think. We want the games and we want human rights to be respected.”

Liu believes the road to democracy is moving, even though slowly and there are indications the Chnese government will gradually allow greater freedom of expression. There is no timeline for democracy but the general direction is in that direction.

China Imprisons Human Rights Activist

A Chinese cocurt jailed one of the govenment’s most prominent critics to a jail sentence of three and a half years on charges of subversion. The United States denounced the sentencing and the European Union called for immediate release of Hu Jia who has pursued fighting for democratic rights and self determination for Tibet. The jailing of the dissident is bound to lead to new pressures on the Olympic Committee to take a stand against these undemocratic practices. The 34 year-old fighter for human rights has been under house arrest(along with his wife and daughter) for over 200 days prior to his conviction.

Lawyers for Hu Jia said the dissident admitted some of his statements had been “excessive” and he acknowledged his comments went against the law as written. Hu Jia essentially is in a “Catch-22″ situation of living in a nation which has undemocratic laws so if he complains about them, he is, by definition, engaged in an illegal action. The decision was issued just as IOC representatives were meeting in Beijing.

The Olympics are an important even not merely for the Chinese government but for the people of China. An all-out boycott undoubtedly would infuritate the people of China which would interpret such an action as directed against the entire nation, not the government which imprisonded Hu Jia. However, a boycott of opening ceremonies would send a message to the Chinese government how the world interprets their undemocratic behavior. The IOC also has to make clear to the Chinese government any attempt to squash free speech on the part of particpants will result in immediate cancellation of the Olympics.

China Dissident Missing In Action

Teng Biao, a prominent human rights activist, is reported missing and most probably arrested by Chinese authorities who are cracking down on dissidents in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. Biao has been defending members of the Falun Gong practitioners and farmers fighting for their land. He was last seen on Thursday being bundled into a black car outside his home in Beijing. Biao was recently warned by the police he would be detained unless he stpped talking to foreign media and writing abut human rights abuses in his homeland. Shortly before being seized by the police, he told reporters for the Manchester Guardian that his passport had been seized, his phone bugged and emails checked by authorities.

Biao told reporters, “they told me I cannot accept any interview related to human rights and the Olympics. I said I cannot make such a promise. I have a right to speak. I’m not sure if they will arrest me tomorrow. but I feel no fear.” Friends say he was under extreme pressure and feared being charged with inciting subversion of state power which carries a sentence of several years in prison. Last month, Hu Ji, a friend of Biao, was arrested and will probably be charged with the crime of subversive behavior.

Visitors to the Olympics will behold the beauty of China, they will see new skyscrapers and modern stadiums, but they will not see the faces of those in prison who uphold democratic principles. They are the dissidents who are missing in action in the war for democracy.

Sudan Official-Only A Few People Died In Darfur!!

A Sudanese senior official, on a trip to Japan, claimed critics had completely exaggerated the situation in Darfur and that only a fraction of those claimed to have been killed really got killed. Sudanese presidential adviser, Nafie Ali Nafie, said “Our estimate is not more than 10,000… quite a difference number from 200,000. I dare say that the situation in Darfur is more than 95% stable and secure.” He indicated his government’s displeasure with attempts to link Chinese involvment in the Sudan with an Olympic boycott. “The West will not be happy with involvement of any Asian country in Africa, simply because the West would like to see Africa as their backyard.”

Sudan’s government routinely disputes figures from dozens of world bodies whose estimate of deaths in Darfur range from 200,000 up to over 400,000. One survey by the Center for International Justice found that 61% of those interviewed reported witnessing the killing of a family member. Perhaps, Mr. Nafie can explain the Janjaweed which spread terrorism throughout the Sudan and routinely rape and kill.

Spielberg–Stay In Hollywood- Exclaims People’s Daily!

The People’s Daily, a spokesperson for the Chinese government, blasted Steven spielberg for his decision to resign as artistic adviser to the Olympics due to China’s failure to take decisive action on the issue of genocide in Darfur. The Chinese newspaper editorial referred to a Western film director as being “naive and simple minded” who dared raising the issue of Darfur. Spielberg was described as exibiting the “unique” qualities of a Hollywood celebrity and his “naivety or innocence” shows how he and Western media are ignorant if not funny.

The People’s Daily argued the death of hundreds of thousands and displacement of over a milliion was “neither created by China” which has nothing to do with this tragedy. Naturally, the Chinese newspaper resurrected Western imperialism and colonial rule insisting the Western media wants to push around China as Westerners did in the past. They argue the right thing to do is focusing on the Olympics and making it a great world event.

Neither Steven Spielberg nor world newspapers are castng blame for Darfur on the shoulders of Chna. The Chinese government has great influence in the Sudan and can exert pressure on its government to halt Janjaweed raids. The only thing asked of China is to act like the great power it has become and to assist those in need. As a nation which was oppressed, the Chinese should understand better than Western imperialist dogs the importance of outside forces reaching in to give assistance to the oppressed.