Monday, April 30, 2007

Olympics-China repression worsens ahead of Games-report

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 06:49:39 -0400
From: "Tenant"
Subject: Reuters, Amnesty Int'l on Beijing Olympic housing abuses

Olympics-China repression worsens ahead of Games-report
30 Apr 2007 00:01:12 GMT
Source: Reuters

BEIJING, April 30 (Reuters) - The human rights situation and
repression in China continue to worsen ahead of next year's Beijing
Olympics, and the government has not yet fulfilled its media freedom
pledge, Amnesty International said on Monday.

Forced evictions to make way for Olympic projects and the detention
and harassment of people who have protested the evictions is a
particular worry, and one the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
should raise with the government, the group said.

"The IOC cannot want an Olympics that is tainted with human rights
abuses -- whether families forcibly evicted from their homes to make
way for sports arenas or growing numbers of peaceful activists held
under 'house arrest' to stop them drawing attention to human rights
issues," said Catherine Baber, Amnesty's Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

Amnesty said in a report the IOC should make public concerns about
human rights if it is unable to get Beijing to loosen up, adding "the
Olympics is apparently acting as a catalyst to extend the use of
detention without trial".

While Amnesty welcomed the government's decision to let a few veteran
activists travel abroad, it said there was still "serious risk of
abuse" for many other dissidents, like blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng.
Amnesty said Ye Guozhu, jailed for organising protests against forced
evictions in Beijing, had been tortured in jail.

"The organisation ... urges the IOC to raise these allegations of
forced evictions and related arrests with the Chinese authorities in
an attempt to clarify the situation," the report added.

China seems to be overly pre-occupied with ensuring stability, which
could backfire, it said.

"While such concerns are understandable for any country holding such
a major international event, policies and practices must be founded
on respect for rule of law and human rights, or they risk fuelling
further discontent."

And Beijing's crackdown on domestic media is intensifying, despite
its media freedom promise, Amnesty said.

"The failure to ensure equal rights and freedoms for both foreign and
domestic journalists smacks of double standards -- China has yet to
meet its promise to ensure complete media freedom for the Olympics,"
Baber said.
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