Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    3.
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Beijing Olympics’ Category

China: Beijing Olympic singing girl star was a fake: ceremony director

Posted by Author on August 12, 2008


AFP, Aug. 12, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — The little girl who starred at the Olympic opening ceremony was miming and only put on stage because the real singer was not considered attractive enough, the show’s musical director said.

Pigtailed Lin Miaoke was selected to appear because of her cute appearance and had not sung a note, Chen Qigang, the general music designer of the ceremony, said in an interview with a state broadcaster.

Photographs of Lin in a bright red party dress were published in newspapers and websites all over the world and the official China Daily hailed her as a rising star on Tuesday.

But Chen said the girl whose voice was actually heard by the 91,000 capacity crowd at the main Olympic stadium was in fact seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, who has a chubby face and uneven teeth.

“The reason why little Yang was not chosen to appear was because we wanted to project the right image, we were thinking about what was best for the nation,” Chen said in the interview that appeared briefly on the popular news website Sina.com on Tuesday before it was wiped from the Internet.

Lin was seen to perform the patriotic song “Ode to the Motherland” as China’s national flag was carried into the stadium, a key moment in the three hour opening ceremony.

“The reason was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression,” he said.

“Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects. But in terms of voice, Yang Peiyi is perfect, each member of our team agreed,” he said.

– AFP: Olympic child singing star was a fake: ceremony director

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Children, China, Event, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, World | 4 Comments »

China journalists censored over murder of US volleyball coach’s family member

Posted by Author on August 12, 2008


Jacquelin Magnay in Beijing, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, August 12, 2008-

CHINESE journalists have been prevented from reporting the stabbing murder of an American tourist at the Drum Tower and linking it to the Olympic Games.

In direct contravention of the promises made for press freedom in covering the Olympics, the notebooks and at least one tape recorder of a number of Chinese journalists were confiscated after a press conference held by the US men’s volleyball team.

The team had been discussing the impact of the murder on them. The victim was the father-in-law of the team’s coach, Hugh McCutcheon, and the father of a respected former national team member, Elisabeth McCutcheon.

The confiscation caused disquiet and it was unclear if the items would be returned.

Removal of such items is common for Chinese journalists covering protests or other “undesirable” activities but it is the first time it has happened at an Olympics.

Earlier, at a small protest in Tiananmen Square by pro-Tibet American Christians, reporters were manhandled by police who tried to take away their microphones and notebooks.

A Beijing Olympic spokesman, Sun Weide, said he did not know about the notebooks being confiscated at the press conference nor about the differing standards being applied to Western and Chinese journalists. “I am not very clear about the situation you raised. For Chinese journalists they very much enjoy the rights to cover the Beijing Olympic Games.”

A public relations firm acting for the organisers said initial inquiries into the volleyball conference indicated the confiscation “simply did not take place”.

Local coverage of the murder has centred on the death of “an American tourist” without mentioning that the victim, Todd Bachman, and his seriously injured wife, Barbara, were there to support the US volleyball team.

A Herald internet report yesterday quoting the Australian chef de mission, John Coates, ordering Australian athletes to wear team gear away from the site to distinguish them from American contestants was blocked until an international wire service released the story.

– Original: Chinese journalists censored, The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off on China journalists censored over murder of US volleyball coach’s family member

China: Part of Beijing Olympic Fireworks Display Digitally Faked

Posted by Author on August 12, 2008


By Samuel Spencer, Epoch Times Staff Aug 11, 2008 –

One of the key parts of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, watched by over an estimated 3 billion people around the world, was faked, a report in a Chinese newspaper has revealed.

A part of the ceremony broadcast on TV, which seemed to display giant footprints in the sky lit up by fireworks, were a computer animation that had been prepared for over a year.

The setup was so elaborate and well planned that even giant television screens inside the stadium broadcast the fake images.

The faked animation was revealed in The Beijing Times, in an interview with the head of the ceremony’s visual effects, Gao Xiaolong. Despite the subterferge, Gao said he was pleased with the results. “Most of the audience thought it was being shown live, so that was mission accomplished,” he said in the interview.

Gao said it had taken his team a year to create the 55-second sequence.

Gao revealed that it would have been impossible to film the footage live, given the smog and the weather, and would have involved carefully manoeuvering a helicopter to see all 29 footsteps in a row.

The team talked to the Beijing meteorological office so as to recreate the haze from Beijing’s night sky, and also inserted a camera-shake effect to make it appear as if it was filmed from a helicopter.

The dupe was made possible by the fact that it was done under the aegis of the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting, which controls and provides the main video feeds of all Olympics events to other channels, which in turn feed the video to all around the world. This includes NBC, which has the U.S. broadcasting contract.

– Original: The Epochtimes

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Computer, Event, News, Sports, Technology, World | 5 Comments »

Beijing olympics designed to benefit a regime responsible for appalling abuse of human rights: Edward McMillan-Scott

Posted by Author on August 11, 2008


Edward McMillan-Scott, The Guardian, UK, Friday August 08 2008-

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics will inevitably be an occasion for admiring comment about the immense achievements – architectural, organisational and presentational – of the host nation. This, of course, is precisely what the Chinese authorities hoped for when they secured their Olympic bid seven years ago. It was intended as a statement of China’s modernity, its economic prowess and its rise to the top table of world power. Judging from the coverage so far, there are plenty of people willing to accept this image at face value. Yes, human rights groups have raised some awkward questions, but why should that spoil the party when so many world leaders will be on hand to give their blessing to the proceedings?

Despite the fact that I campaigned hard for a political boycott of the Beijing Olympics, I wish the athletes well and hope the competition passes without a repeat of the terrorist attack that happened earlier this week in Xinjiang province. What I don’t want is for those watching to be in any doubt about the nature of the regime these games have been designed to benefit. Beyond the mesmerising Bird’s Nest stadium is a country presided over by a terror state responsible for some truly appalling crimes against humanity. Even the stadium’s designer, Ai Weiwei, was moved to disown the games describing the human rights situation as “appalling”. The countless victims imprisoned, tortured and murdered by the Chinese state also deserve to be part of this Olympic story. They should not be too far from our thoughts as the gold medals are being handed out.

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are in agreement that far from honouring their pledge to improve human rights as a result of hosting the Olympics, the Chinese authorities have used the games as an excuse to intensify domestic repression. Much of this abysmal record is widely known about. There is no freedom of expression and the authorities go to extraordinary lengths to control information and restrict access to the internet. Dissent is punished severely, with those considered a threat imprisoned without trial and often without any information about their location or condition. The death penalty is applied extensively and for relatively minor non-violent crimes like tax fraud. The use of torture is frequent according to Manfred Nowak, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, including beatings, electrocution and the removal of fingernails. The violent suppression of Tibetan rights and cultural identity is well documented. Moreover, some of these methods appear to be for export. BBC Panorama recently exposed China’s role in arming the Sudanese government in its genocidal campaign in Darfur.

The victims of Chinese state terror are numerous and include human rights defenders, lawyers, trade unionists, environmentalists, campaigners for regional autonomy and anyone who seeks to challenge state policy. One person I am particularly concerned about is Gao Zhisheng, a Nobel prize nominee sometimes referred to as “China’s conscience”. As one of his country’s top lawyers, he was targeted by the regime for speaking out about human rights abuses and has been in detention and subjected to torture since he wrote a critical open letter about the Olympics last year. It is essential that the UK and other countries across the world raise his case with the Chinese authorities as a matter of urgency.

One of the groups that Gao has been most prominent in defending has been the religious movement, Falun Gong. Members of this group have been on the receiving end of some of the most brutal abuse imaginable. Many foreign observers are easily frightened off by the Chinese government’s designation of it as an “evil cult”, but Falun Gong is a harmless Buddha-school set of spiritual exercises that is persecuted mainly because its popularity is deemed to pose a threat to the “guiding role” of the Chinese Communist party. A decade ago it had up to 100 million adherents.

Falun Gong supporters are routinely imprisoned for their beliefs and are believed by Manfred Nowak to make up the majority of prisoners subjected to torture. But they are also the principal victims of China’s most horrific crime against humanity – the harvesting of human organs from prisoners to supply the country’s burgeoning transplant business. With transplants running at more than 10,000 a year, and with a harvested heart fetching up to $160,000, this is a profitable enterprise for the People’s Liberation Army which organises it and pockets the proceeds.

Unfortunately the organs used are far from surplus to requirements. A report written last year by the former Canadian secretary of state, David Kilgour, and the human rights lawyer, David Matas, concluded: “there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.” Falun Gong prisoners are the only ones routinely subjected to urine and blood tests, with strong reason to believe that significant numbers of them are subsequently killed to order.

There is no sign that this appalling practice is about to stop, either. Earlier this year, the Chinese authorities announced that they were adopting a lethal injection as the means of capital punishment instead of a bullet through the head – the mouth was propped open to minimise damage, but it is still a messy way to kill. It is not hard to understand this change. In one province alone, 16 buses have been specially adapted to perform on-the-spot eviscerations.

This is the reality behind the facade of modernity presented by the Beijing Olympics. Although the political boycott of the opening ceremony will be nothing like as widespread as the seriousness of the human rights situation in China demands, it is not too late to register a protest against the terror state behind these games. I hope that Gordon Brown will reconsider his decision to attend the closing ceremony later this month. I also hope that those watching at home will take some time out from enjoying the sport to consider the enormous human suffering that is the reality of daily life for many Chinese people.

– Original: The reality behind China’s Olympic image of modernity, The Guardian

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Edward McMillan-Scott, Europe, Falun Gong, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Religious, Social, Sports, UK, World | 1 Comment »

While Bush Visits Official Church in Beijing, Renowned House Church Pastor Arrested and Escaped

Posted by Author on August 11, 2008


China Aid Association, Inc. , Aug 10 2008-

(Beijing Church Reporter: Zhang Lujia.  August 10.)  Today, President Bush visited TSPM’s Kuanjie Church established by the government and attended a service.  As a result of this, Brother Hua Huiqi, renowned Christian social activist in Beijing, was arrested once again by the Chinese police.

At about 6 a.m. this morning Beijing time, brother Hua Huiqi and his 51-year-old brother Hua Huilin were illegally arrested by the Chinese police on their way to Kuanjie Church.  The two brothers were detained in the courtyard of Hong Kong New World Development Limited Company in the vicinity of Chongwen Gate of Beijing.  At about noon, Hua Huiqi took an opportunity and fled.  He is now at large.

Over 10 years ago, Hua Huiqi was baptized at Kuanjie Church.  Later, he began to worship in house churches.  As the Olympic Games were scheduled to be held in Beijing, Hua Huiqi’s movement came under the surveillance of the Chinese police in the past few months.  As a result, Brother Hua and his family had to go back to Kuanjie Church to attend the services.

As President Bush was to visit Kuanjie Church, Brother Hua Huiqi was prohibited by the police to go there for services.  However, Brother Hua thinks the police’s ban does not have a legal basis and is totally unreasonable.  So he decided to refuse to obey.

This morning, Brother Hua Huiqi successfully got rid of the police placed on his surveillance and met with his brother Hua Huilin.  Then, they rode bikes and were bound for Kuanjie Church.

At a place about 1.5 kilometers from the church, they were arrested by the police.

Ingenious arrangements are being made at TSPM’s Kuanjie Church established by the government to welcome the visit of US President Bush on August 10. High-ranking officials from the Public Security Bureau, Bureau of Security, Bureau of Religion and TSPM/China Christian Council met at Kuanjie Church established by the government and there, they made ingenious arrangements for the visit of US President Bush on August 10.

They won’t give the ordinary believers of the church a chance to meet President Bush or overseas media.  They will also drive the ordinary believers out of the church before and after President Bush’s visit. Informed sources have disclosed that a red slip of procedure for the worship ceremony is a mark for their identification.  The red slips have been distributed before noon today.

Most people President Bush and the overseas media will meet in the church are security people, political workers and people trained by them to pose as believers.

An old believer who was baptized at Kuanjie Church nearly 20 years ago complained: “Whether you are a believer or not, no one is allowed to enter the church.  When President Bush comes tomorrow, where can we do our Sunday service?”  Another believer who lives nearby Kuanjie Church joked: “President Bush is coming to preach the Gospel to those who don’t believe in the Lord (referring to those police officers and officials).  We are already believers, so we certainly don’t have to come here tomorrow.”

– Original: President Bush Visited Officially Staged Church Service; House Church Pastor Hua Huiqi Arrested and Escaped from Police Custody

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Christianity, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on While Bush Visits Official Church in Beijing, Renowned House Church Pastor Arrested and Escaped

Birds Nest’s Chinese Designer Boycotts Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony

Posted by Author on August 10, 2008


By Sarah Matheson, Epoch Times Staff Aug 9, 2008-

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei refused to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics, even though he helped design the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Ai worked closely with the Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron as an artistic consultant for the design of the project but he’s since become an outspoken blogger against the Games and the Chinese regime.

In an open letter, Ai said he is concerned that Chinese authorities are using the Games to strengthen their control over the Chinese people.

Ai also openly called for drastic political reform in China.

“We must bid farewell to autocracy. Whatever shape it takes, whatever justification it gives, authoritarian government always ends up trampling on equality, denying justice and stealing happiness and laughter from the people,” reads Ai’s letter.

Almost 60 years after the founding of the People’s Republic, Chinese people still live under autocratic rule without universal suffrage, he continued.

He also said: “China has endured disasters, suffering, humiliation, and a darkness that made people hopeless.

“We do not have an open media even though freedom of expression is more valuable than life itself.

“Today is not the time to dwell on our problems, but neither should we accept those who tell us these games are not political.”

Ai is one of very few critics of the Chinese Communist Party that has not been censored by authorities.
For example, when Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, published a series of letters to the Communist Party leadership in 2006 calling for an end of the persecution of the Falun Gong, he was stripped of his license to practice law and arrested multiple times.

Last November, he again voiced concerns about the human rights violations in the run-up to the Olympics and was again arrested and severely tortured.

In Ai’s letter he described how in China, everything today is viewed as “political,” although some people have insisted that the Olympics should be different.

“They imply that this fortnight of sport is somehow disconnected from history and psychology, unrelated to theory and morality and on a more elevated plane than base human nature,” he said.

“They argue that anyone who links the games with politics has sinister ulterior motives, that they are anti-Chinese,” he said.

Ai went on further to explain that while the Bird’s Nest National Stadium was designed to embody the Olympic spirit of “fair competition,” he was boycotting the opening ceremony because he believes that fair competition requires freedom of choice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Artists, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, News, Overseas Chinese, People, Politics, Sports, World | Comments Off on Birds Nest’s Chinese Designer Boycotts Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony

Compare the Olympics of Beijing 2008, Seoul 1988 and Berlin 1936

Posted by Author on August 10, 2008


Calgary Herald, Canada, Saturday, August 09, 2008-

In the lead-up to the Summer Olympic Games in China, comparisons have been made between the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, the Games of the XI Olympiad in Berlin in 1936, and the Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul, in 1988.

The contrasts have been drawn in an attempt to discern whether China’s staging is more similar to the show games of Adolf Hitler’s Germany, which masked the repression and dictatorship in a temporary Potemkin-like facade before the Third Reich returned to the business of murder, mayhem, invasion and genocide, or akin to evidence of a culture and country about to open and blossom into a liberal democracy, such as was the case in South Korea.

Regrettably, China’s summer display seems more akin to Germany in 1936 though the comparison should not be overstated. Still, China in 2008 is unlike South Korea in 1988. By the time the Olympic torch arrived in Seoul 20 years ago, the Seoul dictatorship had already been swept into the dustbin of history; the first direct election (as opposed to rubber-stamped rule of a president) had been held one year previous, in 1987. The lack of a similar precedent in China at present is obvious.

Just as notable in their absence is any improving human rights record in China. In a recent interview with the German newspaper, Deutsche Welle, Amnesty International China expert Verena Harpe noted how the human rights situation has actually worsened, not in spite of the Olympics, but because of the Olympics. Harpe noted how the crackdown on human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists has intensified, and how “Administrative Detentions” — prison sentences without a trial — have increased.

Such sentences, which can be as high as four years with “re-education through labour” as part and parcel of such incarceration, have been delivered to the poorest of the poor: “This has been used to clean up the beggars, petitioners and illegal taxi drivers in Beijing,” reported Harpe.

That’s not exactly similar to “Arbeit Macht Frei” — the “work shall set you free” slogan of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps — but “re-education through labour” is eerily similar enough.

Amnesty International is not the only organization to notice China’s abuses. Human Rights Watch notes that the Chinese regime has smothered the voices of those who speak out publicly about the need for greater tolerance and for more human rights.

The human rights organization notes the case of Yang Chunlin, a land rights activist from Heilongjiang province, arrested in July 2007 for his petitions against illegal land seizures by officials and for writing essays denouncing official wrongdoings. Yang collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition entitled, “We want human rights, not the Olympics.” He was charged with “inciting subversion of state power.” In March, he was given a five-year prison sentence after a one-day trial.

Another example is Huang Qi, a veteran dissident taken into custody on June 10, 2008, in Chengdu. That occurred while he investigated allegations that poor construction contributed to the collapse of schools in the March 12 Sichuan earthquake. Huang was formally charged with “possessing state secrets” on July 18 and awaits trial.

China in 2008 is not exactly similar to Germany in 1936. But nor is it anywhere the progress already achieved by South Korea in 1988. It is the latter, not the former, to which China should now aspire.

– The Calgary Herald: China’s un-Olympic human rights record

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, News, Politics, Sports, World | Comments Off on Compare the Olympics of Beijing 2008, Seoul 1988 and Berlin 1936

China: American tourist killed in an attack on Olympic athlete’s family in Beijing

Posted by Author on August 9, 2008


Sara Hashash and Times Online, UK, Aug. 9, 2008-

A knife-wielding Chinese man attacked two relatives of a coach for the US Olympic men’s volleyball team at a tourist site in Beijing, killing one and injuring the other on the first day of the Olympics.

The incident took place on the second level of the Drum Tower, an ancient monument situated just 8km from the main Olympics site, which was used to tell time centuries ago.

The 47-year-old attacker, identified by local police as Tang Yongming from the eastern city of Hangzhou, then committed suicide by jumping from the second story of the Tower.

The attack has brought shock to the country because of the rarity of violent crime against foreigners in tightly controlled China, which has ramped up security measures even more for the Olympics.

The stabbing came only hours after what by many accounts was the most spectacular opening ceremony in Olympic history and has already dampened some of the enthusiasm.

Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the US Olympic Committee, said the volleyball team was deeply saddened and shocked and that it was “too early to say whether the US delegation or athletes will require additional security”.

Police blocked off streets leading to the Drum Tower immediately after the attack and cordoned off the area with yellow police tape. Security officers were examining the scene on the tower and below.

As yet exact details of the attack, including the weapon used, were not clear.

The episode marks the first setback for Beijing in what has otherwise been a resoundingly successful opening for the Olympic Games.

Around one billion people watched Beijing’s glittering opening ceremony on television around the world. Around 10,000 performers took part in the extravaganza which featured a dazzling spectacle of fireworks, drums and dancers.

Laura Bush, America’s first lady, who attended the ceremony alongside President Geroge W.Bush said: “It was spectacular, really unbelievable”. More than 80 world leaders and 91,000 spectators attended the event.

China sailed to an early victory winning two gold medals during on the opening day of the Olympic Games. Female weightlifter Chen Xiexia won the first medal for the host nation in the women’s 48 kg class. Her success was shortly followed by Pang Wei who triumphed in the men’s 10 metre air pistol .

Despite political controversy over China’s human rights record which has dogged the run up to the games, protestors have not derailed events so far. Activists who had wrapped themselves in Tibetan flags and lay down in Tianmen square early on Saturday morning, shouted “Freedom for Tibet!” as they were led away by plainclothes security agents.

In Hong Kong a pro-Tibet protester was removed from an equestrian event when she tried to display a Tibetan flag during the dressage.

part in the extravaganza which featured a dazzling spectacle of fireworks, drums and dancers.

Laura Bush, America’s first lady, who attended the ceremony alongside President Geroge W.Bush said: “It was spectacular, really unbelievable”. More than 80 world leaders and 91,000 spectators attended the event.

China sailed to an early victory winning two gold medals during on the opening day of the Olympic Games. Female weightlifter Chen Xiexia won the first medal for the host nation in the women’s 48 kg class. Her success was shortly followed by Pang Wei who triumphed in the men’s 10 metre air pistol .

Despite political controversy over China’s human rights record which has dogged the run up to the games, protestors have not derailed events so far. Activists who had wrapped themselves in Tibetan flags and lay down in Tianmen square early on Saturday morning, shouted “freedom for Tibet!” as they were led away by plainclothes security agents.

In Hong Kong a pro-Tibet protester was removed from an equestrian event when she tried to display a Tibetan flag during the dressage.

– The Times Online

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Law, Life, News, People, Social, Sports, travel, USA, World | Comments Off on China: American tourist killed in an attack on Olympic athlete’s family in Beijing

Thousands worldwide join China protests as Olympics open

Posted by Author on August 9, 2008


AFP, Aug. 8, 2008-

LONDON (AFP) — Thousands of people joined protests around the globe Friday accusing China of relentless human rights abuses as the Beijing Olympics kicked off with a dazzling, three-hour opening ceremony.

Demonstrators took to the streets of London, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Washington among others to voice concerns ranging from China’s rule of Tibet to its support for Myanmar’s junta.

China has painted the Games as a celebration of three decades of economic reforms and hopes it will showcase a rapidly modernising country.

But activists across the world are using them to pressure Beijing over its rule of Tibet and the heavily Muslim Xinjiang province, the arrests of dissidents, censorship and concerns about Chinese foreign policy.

Three foreign protestors managed to breach tight security near the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing to stage a brief, 40-second protest and pull out Tibetan flags an hour before the opening ceremony burst into life.

Americans Jonathan Stribling-Uss, 27, and Kalaya’an Mendoza, 29, as well as Cesar Pablo Maxit, 32, an Argentine-American, were immediately and forcibly detained by Chinese security, Students For A Free Tibet said in a statement.

Police did not immediately comment.

Earlier in the day, Reporters Without Borders hacked into Chinese airwaves to broadcast a 20-minute programme in Chinese, English and French at 8:08 am (0008 GMT) — exactly 12 hours before the opening ceremony in Beijing.

The French-based media rights group said it was the first of its kind in China since the communists seized power in 1949.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Europe, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Protest, Religious, Social, Sports, Tiananmen, World | Comments Off on Thousands worldwide join China protests as Olympics open

2008 Beijing Olympics tainted by a sharp increase in human rights abuses : HRW

Posted by Author on August 9, 2008


Human Rights Watch, August 6, 2008-

(New York, August 6, 2008) – The 2008 Beijing Olympics will open tainted by a sharp increase in human rights abuses directly linked to China’s preparations for the games, Human Rights Watch said today. The games open on August 8, 2008.

The run-up to the Beijing Olympics has been marred by a well-documented surge in violations of the rights of free expression and association, as well as media freedom. In addition, abuses of migrant construction workers who were pivotal to Beijing’s infrastructure improvements have increased, as have evictions of Beijing residents whose homes were demolished to make way for that infrastructure. Those abuses reflect both the Chinese government’s wholesale failure to honor its Olympics-related human rights promises, as well as the negligence of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in ensuring that China fulfills its commitments.

“The Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee have had seven years to deliver on their pledges that these games would further human rights,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. “Instead, the Beijing Games have prompted a rollback in some of the most basic rights enshrined in China’s constitution and international law.”

Human Rights Watch pointed particularly to the following ongoing abuses and some of their most recent victims:

* The silencing of Chinese citizens who express concerns about Olympics-related rights abuses through intimidation, imprisonment, and the use of house arrest. For example, Ye Guozhu, a 53-year-old housing rights activist, remains in prison despite having completed his four-year prison sentence in July 2008. After attempting to organize protests against forced evictions related to the Beijing Olympics, Ye was convicted on December 18, 2004, on charges of “suspicion of disturbing social order.” Ye’s family has said they believe the government will hold him until after the games to prevent him from speaking freely.
* Evictions and demolitions for Olympics-related infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of residents have been evicted and their homes demolished in the course of Beijing’s makeover. Ni Yulan, a 47-year-old lawyer who was disbarred and imprisoned for her work defending the rights of those forcibly evicted in Beijing and crippled by beatings she suffered in prison, is now awaiting trial on charges of “obstructing a public official” (Article 277 of the Criminal Law), which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. During the incident in question, Ni was resisting the demolition of her own home when she was hit on the head with a brick and dragged to the ground.
* Hundreds of cases of harassment and restriction of foreign media from reporting freely, in violation of China’s Olympic pledge and temporary regulations in effect from January 2007 to October 2008. The Chinese government continues to severely restrict the foreign media’s access to Tibet since violence flared in Lhasa in mid-March. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for the security of all foreign journalists in China, also continues to refuse to investigate death threats made against foreign correspondents in the wake of a state media-driven vilification campaign of “western media bias” following the Lhasa violence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Dissident, Forced Evictions, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Land Seizure, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on 2008 Beijing Olympics tainted by a sharp increase in human rights abuses : HRW

China see the Beijing Olympics as a goldmine for spying, says western intelligence official

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


Isabel Oakeshott, Michael Sheridan and Flora Bagenal in Beijing, The Times Online, UK, August 3, 2008-

Two weeks ago, the Whitehall mandarins, ministerial aides and officials who will be in Beijing when the Olympic Games open on Friday were summoned for what they thought would be a series of pro-forma chats with MI5. What they heard was hair-raising.

“It was all very James Bond,” according to one of the 100 or more who were called in by the security service. “We were told to trust nobody. We were warned that there is going to be a huge spy presence in Beijing, and that we should expect to be followed wherever we go.”

The alert came after The Sunday Times reported that a top aide accompanying Gordon Brown to China early this year had been caught in a suspected “honeytrap” by a woman who vanished from his hotel room with his BlackBerry.

The aides and officials accompanying Brown and four ministers to the Olympics were told they must take no laptops and that all BlackBerries or mobile phones must be “clean” – containing no contact numbers or other information.

It is a reminder that, although China has transformed itself into a more self-confident, outgoing and even outspoken society than it was when awarded the games seven years ago, it is still ruled by authoritarians who are above the law.

The official slogan is One World, One Dream. But these are also the Spying Games.

China has justified heavy security measures, entailing the deployment of 110,000 security personnel in Beijing and restrictions on visas, by the need to protect the Olympics against unspecified threats of terrorism.

Surface to air missiles have been placed around the Olympic “bird’s nest” stadium, and from 2pm on Friday – six hours before the opening ceremony is due to start – airports around Beijing will be in lock-down. The army has been instructed to shoot down anything that moves in the five designated air zones above the city. There is much more than an antiterrorist exercise going on, however. A western intelligence official said the Chinese security services saw the Olympics as “a goldmine for intelligence gathering, blackmail and commercial secrets”.

The US state department issued an official warning this year to travellers attending the games that there was “no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations” in China.

It’s not just that the men on the streets in Good Luck Beijing T-shirts and lookalike baseball caps are likely to be vigilantes looking for troublemakers. The man coming into your hotel room to change your free slippers may also be on the security payroll.

“The [British] security services seem particularly worried about the Chinese hotel staff going into our bedrooms,” said a senior aide who will be accompanying ministers.

“We were told they will find an excuse to go into our room five or more times a day. They’ll say they’ve come to change the free slippers – but actually they’ll be on the lookout for any phones or documents we might have left lying around.” Last December Jonathan Evans, director-general of MI5, warned that China was carrying out state-sponsored espionage against vital parts of Britain’s economy, including the computer systems of big banks and financial services firms.

A main fear now is that business visitors to China will be permanently subject to “a cold war level” of industrial espionage from systems put in place for the games.

Two industry sources have confirmed that internet surveillance software to spy on guests at the games has been installed at some international hotel chains after heavy pressure from state security.

It means that business leaders, politicians and government officials using the internet in some of Beijing’s most prestigious hotels can expect the Chinese authorities to monitor e-mails, website visits and private passwords.

The sources confirmed allegations by an American senator, Sam Brownback, who has disclosed the existence of a threatening order from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) to hotel managers ordering them to comply with its operatives.

“Exactly right,” said one of the sources, who said he was familiar with the instructions due to his management position, “it is authentic”.

The PSB document said that “in order to ensure the smooth opening of the Olympics in Beijing . . . it is required that your company install and run the security management system”.

Penalties for noncompliance included fines and the threat the hotel chain could lose its licence in China.

Not only Beijing hotels are affected. Guests at the Shangri-La hotel in Shenzhen, a business hub in south China, were informed in a letter from the management on July 24 that internet access would be shut for several hours for a maintenance “upgrade”.

The Asian-owned chain also operates a hotel at the Kerry Centre in Beijing which is used by the British consulate and multinational companies located in the complex. A spokesman for Shangri-La Hotels did not return calls asking for comment.

Spying on foreigners in Beijing used to be the subject of routine jokes about walls with ears in establishments such as the venerable Jianguo hotel, near the British and American embassies. Western diplomats had assumed until recently that the listening apparatus and telephone tapping, used routinely in the era of Mao Tse-tung, had fallen into disuse.

It is the internet, with high-speed broadband connections in most Chinese hotels, that has given a new lease of life to the eavesdroppers.

The internet was at the centre of an embarrassing public row last week between the international media and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after it emerged that the Chinese were continuing to block politically sensitive websites at the press centre…….

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Canadian MP Releases Report Criticizing China’s Human Rights Abuses Betray Olympic Pledge

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


Canadian MP, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Irwin Cotler, at press conference, Aug. 7, 2008

By Cindy Chan, Epoch Times Ottawa Staff, Canada, Aug 7, 2008-

OTTAWA—On the eve of the Beijing Olympics, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler released a report that highly criticizes China’s ongoing human rights abuses despite promising to make improvements when awarded the Games in 2001.

“What we are witnessing today in China is a persistent and pervasive assault on human rights — a betrayal of the Olympic Charter, the modern Olympic movement, and China’s pledge to respect both,” said Mr. Cotler at a press conference on Parliament Hill.

The report identifies 11 key areas of human rights violations by the Chinese regime. They include Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners and other persecuted groups; the crackdown on press freedom; mistreatment of prisoners; the death penalty; and complicity in genocide and rights abuses in countries such as Darfur, Zimbabwe, Burma, and Nepal.

“China undertook, in their words, to respect human rights, to respect media freedom, and then they added, ‘we will translate these words into deeds,’” Mr. Cotler said at an interview following the press conference. “Yet seven years later, the deeds mock the words.”

Mr. Cotler urged foreign governments to “speak up and speak out” and in particular asked world leaders attending the Beijing Olympics to call publicly for the release of political prisoners.

His report includes names of specific prisoners and makes recommendations with respect to each category.

“It concludes both with the need to hold China to account to end the culture of impunity, and to secure the promises that China originally gave that it would have press freedom and advance the cause of human rights,” said Mr. Cotler

At the press conference he was accompanied by former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour,

Picture2.JPG
HUMAN RIGHTS CRUSADERS L – R: Beryl Wajsman, president of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal: Liberal MP Irwin Cotler; international human rights activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam; and former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

international human rights activist and Miss World Canada 2003 Nazanin Afshin-Jam, and Beryl Wajsman, president of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal.

Mr. Cotler is a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and currently the Official Opposition Human Rights Critic. He noted that “there is an inter-relationship between trade and human rights and we cannot proceed in terms of business as usual.”

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Canadian groups, politicians protests over China’s human rights record prior to Games

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


The Canadian Press, Canada, Aug. 7, 2008-

OTTAWA — Protesters in the capital used the eve of the official start to the Beijing Olympics to launch more protests against China’s human-rights record Thursday.

About 100 demonstrators from several groups, along with a number of politicians, fanned out across the street from the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, waving flags and hoisting placards.

It was the second time in as many days that protesters voiced concerns about human rights in China, along with a wide range of other issues, including Chinese rule over Tibet, the communist country’s stand on Taiwan, and China’s involvement in Darfur.

Unlike Wednesday’s demonstrations, in which free-Tibet campaigners chained themselves to the embassy’s gates, Thursday’s activities were subdued. They consisted mainly of a lineup of speakers ranging from human-rights activists to groups fighting persecution of the Falun Gong movement.

“The Chinese communist regime cannot use (the) Olympics to persecute its own people,” said Grace Wollensak, spokeswoman for the Ottawa chapter of Falun Gong.

“In the context of preparing the so-called successful Games, they have rounded up over 8,000 Falun Gong practitioners nation-wide in just six months,” she claimed.

A handful of Ottawa city police and Mounties stood watch in front of the mostly barricaded crowd, and from across the four-lane roadway in front of the embassy compound.

Opposition members of Parliament earlier in the day spoke out against human-rights abuses in China, less than 24 hours before the official opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics were to take place in Beijing.

On the eve of the Games, the world is seeing continuing human-rights violations by China, said Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.

“What we are witnessing today . . . is a persistent and pervasive assault on human rights in China,” Cotler told a news conference.

“A betrayal of the Olympic Charter, the Olympic Games and China’s pledge to respect both.”

Former Liberal David Kilgour accused China of killing Falon Gong practitioners, arguing that Beijing should never have been allowed to host the Games.

“Since 2001, the government of China and its agencies have killed thousands of Falun Gong practitioners without any form of prior trial,” he said.

“How a country like that could be awarded the Olympic Games is beyond my comprehension.”

Officials at the Chinese embassy could not be reached for comment Thursday.

– The Canadian Press: Canadian protests over China’s human-rights record continue prior to Games

Posted in Activist, Beijing Olympics, Canada, China, Event, Falun Gong, Human Rights, News, Official, People, Politics, Rally, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on Canadian groups, politicians protests over China’s human rights record prior to Games

Human Rights Situation in China Worsens as Bush Calls for a More Open Society

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


Human Rights in China, August 07, 2008-

On the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, as President Bush urges Chinese leaders to grant greater freedom to the people of China, sources from within the country have informed Human Rights in China that Chinese authorities continue to detain, harass, coerce, and monitor rights defenders and dissidents in different parts of China.

In the cases documented by Human Rights in China, lawyers, academics, scholars, petitioners, and rights activists have been put under strict surveillance. In several instances, they have been told that they are being monitored so that they cannot go to Beijing during the Olympics.

“These cases, where the police employed the same method of constant surveillance, reveal the authorities’ systematic strategy for dealing with rights defenders and dissidents,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. “In order to ensure a ‘Safe Olympics,’ the Chinese authorities have put society under a virtual lockdown. The Beijing Olympics is in danger of going down in history as the ‘Olympics of Fear.'”

Recent activity by Chinese authorities to control rights defenders and dissidents is described in the cases below.

* The Beijing Municipal police have been constantly harassing Beijing lawyers since the end of July.

Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) informed Human Rights in China that many lawyers are being followed by police. Some of them, including Jiang and Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵), have decided to leave the city during the Games. Another lawyer, Li Fangping (李方平), also told Human Rights in China that he and Li Heping (李和平) will leave the city to avoid such close surveillance. Li said that the current atmosphere in Beijing is one of “extreme anxiety.”

o For more information about lawyers in China, see: “Rights Lawyers Prevented from Meeting U.S. Congressmen,” July 1, 2008, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/62562; “Chinese Authorities Abuse Licensing System to Harass Rights Defenders,” June 02, 2008, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/55445; “Take Action for Lawyers in China,” http://www.ir2008.org/02/issue.php.

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Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Dissident, house arrest, Human Rights, intellectual, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Petitioner, Politics, Religious, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off on Human Rights Situation in China Worsens as Bush Calls for a More Open Society

RSF: Clandestine Chinese FM radio program broadcast to Beijing residents 12 hours before Olympic opening ceremony

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, Aug. 8, 2008-

Members of Reporters Without Borders today broadcast “Radio Without Borders,” China’s only independent FM radio station, in Beijing just hours before the start of the Olympic Games opening ceremony. In a programme lasting 20 minutes, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard and Chinese human rights activists called on the Chinese government to respect free speech.

“The Chinese authorities refused to issue visas to ten of our members but this has not stopped us from making ourselves heard in Beijing by means of a clandestine radio broadcast using miniaturised FM transmitters and antennas,” Ménard said. “Reporters Without Borders devised and carried out this protest in a spirit of resistance against state control of the media.”

The press freedom organisation added : “This is the first non-state radio station to have broadcast in China since the Communist Party took power in 1949. Only international Chinese-language radio stations broadcasting on the short wave would be able to break this news and information monopoly, but they are jammed by the authorities.”

The Radio Without Borders broadcast began at 08:08 local time on 08/08/08, exactly 12 hours before the start of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games. The programme, in English, French and Mandarin, was heard in on 104.4 FM in different districts of the Chinese capital……. (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Media, News, People, Press freedom, radio, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off on RSF: Clandestine Chinese FM radio program broadcast to Beijing residents 12 hours before Olympic opening ceremony

RSF files court challenge to Paris police ban on protest outside Chinese embassy

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, Aug. 7, 2008-

Reporters Without Borders today asked a Paris court to suspend two orders issued yesterday by the Paris police banning the press freedom organisation from staging a protest outside the Chinese embassy and consulate in Paris at any time between 7 a.m. today and midnight tomorrow.

“People make fun of China for restricting the places for demonstrations in Beijing, but France is doing exactly the same,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Paris police have banned any demonstration near the Chinese embassy on the grounds that a demonstration has already been authorised on the Trocadero esplanade, which has become a sort of human rights ghetto.

“We are organising demonstrations in nine countries tomorrow to coincide with the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Seven of these demonstrations are to be held outside Chinese embassies. Permission has been given for all of them except the one in Paris. Such excessive zeal on the part of the Paris police is outrageous.

“We are challenging these orders before the courts because we think we have a right to demonstrate peacefully outside the embassy of any country that does not respect human rights. We hope the judge will take this into account and will recognise the non-violent nature of Reporters Without Borders’ protests.”

Two plain-clothes policemen came to the Reporters Without Borders office in Paris yesterday evening to inform the organisation of the existence of two police orders banning its planned demonstration. The orders say that because of “demonstrations organised during the Olympic torch relay in Paris on 7 April… that resulted in outbreaks of violence … any demonstration envisaged between 7 a.m. on 7 August and midnight on 8 August is forbidden” near the Chinese embassy and consulate.

The police orders also claim that “the aim of these demonstration could be perceived by part of the local population as a provocations likely to elicit hostile reactions that could result in serious public order disturbances.”

Around 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents, bloggers and netizens are still imprisoned in China on the eve of the Olympic Games. The Chinese government has not kept the promises to improve respect for human rights that it made in 2001, when Beijing was chosen to host the 2008 Olympics.

More information (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish) about the Reporters Without Borders international campaign concerning the 2008 Olympic Games is available on the organisation’s website (www.rsf.org).

– Reporters Without Borders: Reporters Without Borders files court challenge to police ban on demonstration outside Chinese embassy tomorrow in Paris

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U.S. Olympic TV Broadcaster NBC Urged To Examine China’s Human Rights Record

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


By BENJAMIN SARLIN, Staff Reporter, The New York Sun,  U.S. August 7, 2008-

Elected officials and activists are challenging NBC to take a critical look at China’s human rights record as the TV network broadcasts the Olympic Games from Beijing this month.

The major American television networks have not give adequate coverage to China’s role in the ongoing violence in the Darfur region of Sudan, Council Member Eric Gioia said yesterday, noting that China sells weapons to the Sudanese government and is the country’s largest purchaser of oil.

“NBC does not stand alone in not publicizing the crisis in Darfur, but NBC does have a unique opportunity to highlight China’s role,” Mr. Gioia, a likely candidate for public advocate, said at a press conference at the United Nations. “That is why during the Olympic coverage this should be something they are talking about.”

The International Criminal Court moved recently to indict President al-Bashir of Sudan on war crimes charges.

Last month, protesters disrupted a taping of NBC’s “Today” show to protest the network’s handling of China and Darfur. Asked on Monday about the network’s planned coverage during the Olympics, the show’s producer, Jim Bell, told the Los Angeles Times that NBC is planning to “deal with the issues as they come” during the games and address questions being raised about the country’s human rights record.

City officials have publicly condemned China’s human rights record on several issues ahead of the Beijing Games. Mr. Gioia wrote a resolution last year in the City Council calling on corporate sponsors of the Olympics, such as NBC, to drop their support for the games. Council Member Simcha Felder in March called for a boycott of the games over Sudan, and Council Member Tony Avella introduced a separate resolution earlier this year calling on the International Olympic Committee to move the games from Beijing in response to China’s treatment of Tibet.

As the Olympics approach, China also has drawn criticism for restricting Western reporters’ access to the Internet and for revoking a visa yesterday for a former Olympic speed skater who planned to attend the games, Joey Cheek. Mr. Cheek co-founded Team Darfur, a group of athletes that have called attention to China’s links to Sudan. Another member of the group, former Olympic swimmer Kendra Zanotto, has also been barred from attending the games.

The White House press secretary, Dana Perino, told reporters yesterday that the Bush administration was “disturbed” by Mr. Cheek’s treatment. President Bush reportedly is set to deliver a speech today in Thailand rebuking China for its policies on religious freedom and human rights.

– The New York Sun: NBC Urged To Examine China’s Record

Posted in Beijing Olympics, China, Darfur, Human Rights, Media, News, Politics, Social, Speech, Sports, TV / film, USA, World | 1 Comment »

Oppressive atmosphere in Beijing: China police ask about shoe size, politics, cash

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008


By Emma Graham-Harrison, Reuters, Thu Aug 7, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – Living in Beijing? The government wants to know your shoe size, blood group, political affiliation and where you get your money from, according to police in at least one corner of the security-obsessed Olympic host city.

Questionnaires handed to a businessman in Beijing’s east also demanded full technical details of the company computer network and a hand-drawn map of Internet connections.

Beijing has ramped up security ahead of the Games, with missile launchers guarding the main venues and a special 100,000-strong security force on the alert for terrorists.

Residents of the capital have got used to over-zealous police intruding into their lives. Visitors, even those who stay only one night, are expected to register at the local police station. Police sometimes call to ask why if they do not.

Compounds in the city centre have demanded even long-term residents carry special identity cards, while one restaurant owner said his staff had been warned by police not to speak to foreign customers about anything but their orders.

But the police forms seen by Reuters, which were aimed at Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japanese businessmen and foreign non-government workers, were unusually intrusive with detailed personal questions, some of which implied a criminal record.

Among some over 100 categories to be filled were “the last time of breaking the law”, date of release from prison and source of funds. The document also asked about “cultural level” — or educational background — distinguishing features, and favorite hangouts.

They appeared to be internal police documents, said the businessman who asked not to be named because he feared retaliation for handing the forms to foreign journalists.

“It just seems like everyone is terrified ahead of the Olympics that something will happen on their patch so they are overreacting,” the businessman asked to fill them in said.

“If I’d known the city was going to be like this I would have left for the Games,” he told Reuters.

On Monday, religious extremists killed 16 police in the restive West in an attack the government said aimed to disrupt the Games, and which appeared to justify some of the concerns.

But critics say the security lockdown risks cloaking the host city in an oppressive atmosphere — with live music and outdoor parties banned at some venues, security checks to get on the subway and tens of thousand of migrant workers and others deemed undesirable pushed out of the city.

– Reuters: Beijing police ask about shoe size, politics, cash

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Mia Farrow: “Shame on the Olympic committee” for giving Games to China

Posted by Author on August 7, 2008


AFP, Aug. 6, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — US actress and Darfur activist Mia Farrow Thursday hit out at the International Olympic Committee for awarding China the Games, just one day before the start of the Beijing Olympics.

“The tragedy in Darfur could not continue without the ongoing support of Beijing,” she said from a refugee camp in Chad, which neighbours Sudan’s conflict-ridden Darfur region.

“Shame on the Olympic committee for choosing Beijing, and putting athletes in this untenable position.”

Farrow was speaking in a conference call before the launch of activist organisation Dream for Darfur’s online protest plans for the Olympic Games, due to start Friday in Beijing.

These include an online concert with R.E.M. and other bands, called the Alternative Opening Ceremony, which will be launched on the Internet at 8:08pm (1208 GMT) on Friday to coincide with the Games’ opening ceremony in Beijing.

The organisation has campaigned for more than a year to raise awareness of the Darfur issue and the role that it claims China has in fuelling the conflict.

Farrow, star of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Great Gatsby,” has said the Beijing Games will be known as the “Genocide Olympics” due to China’s support for Sudan’s government.

China is one of the main buyers of Sudan’s oil and a key investor in its economy, and rights groups have said it should use its influence on the regime in Khartoum to help end the bloodshed in Darfur.

The conflict began in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime and state-backed militias, which rights groups say are armed with weapons sold by China — a claim China denies.

The United Nations has said that 300,000 people have died in Darfur and more than 2.2 million have been displaced since 2003.

Jill Savitt, director of Dream for Darfur, acknowledged China had made small steps forward on the Darfur issue.

“In the last year, China has really done an about-face on Darfur, at least in word if not yet in deed,” Savitt said.

In August last year, for example, a resolution mandating a 26,000-strong joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force for Darfur was approved by the United Nations Security Council, and was not blocked by China.

“China sent engineers to the region, China criticised Sudan publicly,” Savitt said.

“Now that a threshold has been set for advocacy that makes China move, we think the momentum is just going to build.”

– Original: Mia Farrow hits out at giving Games to China, AFP

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China Refused Entry of U.S. Olympic Gold Medallist Joey Cheek

Posted by Author on August 7, 2008


Owen Slot in Beijing, Times Online, UK, August 6, 2008-

Joey Cheek, an American Olympic gold medallist who has been leading a campaign to stop China from trading arms with the Sudan, has been refused entry to the Beijing Games.

Cheek, who won gold in the men’s 500 metre speed skating event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, has recruited nearly 400 Olympians and former Olympians worldwide to his cause, called Team Darfur, and was refused a visa at the Chinese embassy in Washington yesterday.

“Despite the fact that I’ve always spoken positively of the Olympic ideal, and never called for a boycott or asked an athlete to break an IOC rule, my visa was revoked less than 24 hours before my scheduled departure,” Cheek said. “The denial of my visa is a part of a systemic effort by the Chinese government to coerce and threaten athletes who are speaking out on behalf of the innocent people of Darfur.”

Cheek’s organisation knows it has been pushing the human rights situation in Darfur hard into the public eye. Concern that their stance may count against them is reflected in the fact that, of the 72 Team Darfur athletes who will be competing here in Beijing, 17 have declined to be named publicly.

A statement received Wednesday morning by fax from the spokesman’s office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing said: “Visa is a sovereign affair of one country, according to Chinese laws and regulations, and based on other host countries’ practice on previous Olympics and other large scale events, China has made appropriate arrangements for foreign entry visas during the Olympic Games . . .”

Team Darfur was started following the Turin Olympics where Cheek won an Olympic gold and spoke out afterwards about how he was intending to give his $40,000 medal bonus to Darfur charities.

According to international experts, some 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million been driven from their homes since rebels took up arms against the government five years ago. China is a major investor in Sudan’s oil industry and is its largest weapons supplier.

– Original: Joey Cheek, gold medallist and Sudan protester, refused entry to China

Posted in Athlete, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Darfur, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Sports, USA, World | 3 Comments »

Map: Labor Camps Close to China Olympic Venue (1): Beijing Tuanhe

Posted by Author on August 6, 2008


Nearby Olympic Venue in Beijing City:

Name: National Stadium, a.k.a. Bird’s Nest
Events: Opening and closing ceremonies, track and field, soccer finals

Labor Camp:

Name: Tuanhe “Re-education Through Labor” Camp
Address: 1-Tuan’gui Street, Liu Village, Huangcun Town, Daxing District, Beijing
Phone: +86-(0)10─61299888

Directions

Directions to Tuanhe Labor Camp: View below, or click here to download .doc file (44kb)

From Beijing International Airport: Total 55.2 km
From Wangfujing (City Center) Subway Station:Total 29.4 km

Map:

Beijing area map, showing the location of Tuanhe Labor Camp and Beijing Olympic Venue- National Stadium

Beijing area map, showing the location of Tuanhe Labor Camp and Beijing Olympic Venue- National Stadium

A. Beijing Capital International Airport: ( 首都国际机场)
B. National Stadium: (鸟巢国家体育场)
C. Tiananmen Square: (天安门广场)
D. Subway station
E. Women Labor Camp: (女子劳教所)
F. Tuanhe Labor Camp: (团河劳教所)

About Tuanhe “Re-education Through Labor” Camp

Description:

Tuanhe Labor Camp has been in use since the 1960s, and is said to hold several thousand prisoners. Tuanhe Dispatch Center is part of the same complex, and all prisoners sent to “re-education through labor” (RTL) facilities in Beijing must first pass through the Tuanhe Dispatch Center before going to other sites. Both men and women are confined in the dispatch center, but in separate facilities. Tuanhe Labor Camp is male only.

Prisoners:

According to Chen Gang, a New Jersey resident and Falun Gong practitioner held in Tuanhe for 18 months, from 2000-2001, the majority of prisoners were Falun Gong adherents.

Prison conditions:

According to former detainees, prisoners are held in unsanitary conditions, with over a dozen individuals sharing a room of 130 square feet in which they eat, work, and perform bodily functions. Former prisoners speak of working over 16 hours a day packaging chopsticks for domestic and international use in unhygienic conditions, as well as being subjected to beatings, severe sleep deprivation, electric baton shocks, and anti-Falun Gong study sessions.

Products:

Chopsticks (primary) and steel brushes.

Falun Gong practitioner Chen Ying, now living in France, wrote the following about her experience producing chopsticks in Tuanhe:

“I was locked up with over a dozen other Falun Gong practitioners in a cell that was about twelve square meters (130 square feet) in size. We did everything in this cell, including working, eating, drinking, and using the toilet; therefore, there were many flies and mosquitoes. If we could not finish the work assigned to us, we were not allowed to clean ourselves.

“We were allowed very little sleep each day, and forced to start working the moment we opened our eyes. My hands had blisters and thick calluses from working long hours to finish the assigned quota of packaging disposable chopsticks. I often worked until midnight. We were not allowed to sleep unless we finished the quota. We were forced to work over 16 hours every day, and everything was done in our cells.

“The sanitation conditions were extremely poor. Even though we were packaging disposable chopsticks and the label said the chopsticks were disinfected at a high temperature, the entire process was unhygienic. We could not wash our hands, and we had to package those chopsticks that had fallen on the floor. In order to seek a huge profit, Tuanhe Prisoner Dispatch Center and Tuanhe Labor Camp disregarded the health of the general public and knowingly committed such wrongdoings. Many restaurants in Beijing are currently using these chopsticks. I heard they are even being exported to other countries.”

Show Tours:

In 2001, a closely managed tour of the Tuanhe Labor Camp was conducted for foreign media, exhibiting sections of the camp containing green fields and animals such as deer. However, former prisoners held in the camp at the time speak of a staged presentation by prison officials for the benefit of reporters. Chen Gang reports that before the tour, roads were repaired, buildings painted, and prisoners were given a list of questions and answers to memorize. The list included questions like, “Were there any beatings?” Answer: “No.” During that period of time, practitioners who had not renounced their beliefs were sent to a remote corner of the camp. When they were returned, they were told that reporters had come for a visit, but that officials did not want them to see the practitioners.

Chen also learned after his release that two practitioners who had arrived at Tuanhe only a day or two before the tour were allowed to meet reporters. They were separated and isolated upon their arrival. When reporters asked them if they practice Falun Gong, they replied, “Yes” and when they asked if they had been beaten, they said “no.” Each situation was crafted to convey a positive impression of the facility, as realistically as possible.

Individual cases:

1. Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience: Bu Dongwei

Bu Dongwei (image courtesy Amnesty International)

Bu Dongwei (image courtesy Amnesty International)

Bu Dongwei currently serving 2.5 year sentence.

Mr. Bu Dongwei was working for the Asia Foundation, an American aid organization, when he was taken from his home in May 2006 by security agents and sentenced to two and a half years of “re-education through labor” (RTL) because he practices Falun Gong.

According to Amnesty International (AI): “This is not the first time Bu Dongwei has been imprisoned for his beliefs. After petitioning the authorities to review their ban on Falun Gong in 2000, he was sentenced to 10 months RTL…. Amnesty International has been told that during RTL he was deprived of sleep, beaten and forced to sit in a small chair all day – all to make him renounce his beliefs.”

AI considers him a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release, an end to the crackdown against Falun Gong, and abolishment of the RTL system. See: http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGASA170522007&lang=e

2. Former prisoner of conscience: Zhao Ming

Zhao Ming

Zhao Ming

Zhao Ming, post-graduate student at Ireland’s Trinity College, held at Tuanhe from July 2000 to March 2002

“When I visited China to appeal on behalf of Falun Gong, I was jailed. In the labor camp…I was forced to stand and squat for long periods of time, repeatedly shocked with electric batons, sleep deprived, made to attend brainwashing classes, and force-fed.

“Ten inmates who were under orders by the police guards in the camp once beat me together, which made my thighs black all over with bruises and made me unable to walk for two weeks after that. Two weeks before I was released, I was shocked with 6 electric batons by 5 policemen while tied up on a bed board.”

3. Message for reporters from former prisoner Chen Gang, a musician currently living in New Jersey.

“The CCP can stage everything. I don’t know if they [reporters] can discover the truth there. If you want to know the facts you have to find a way. Don’t be fooled by the CCP. A few of my friends are still in prison there. They could even be tortured to death by now.

“It’s really hard and dangerous but I hope reporters can discover the crimes behind closed doors.”— July 26, 2008

Chen Gang, Zhao Ming, Chen Ying, and Bu Dongwei’s wife, herself a former prisoner of conscience currently residing in the United States, are available for interviews upon request.

Excerpt from report “Torture Outside the Olympic Village: A Guide to China’s Labor Camps“, by CIPFG

Related:
Guide to Beijing Olympic Reporters: Torture Outside The Olympic Village in Labor Camps, By CIPFG

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China Restricts Media Access to Beijing Tiananmen Square

Posted by Author on August 6, 2008


DPA, via Bangkok Post, Aug. 5, 2008-

Beijing (dpa) – China has imposed restrictions on the access of Chinese and foreign media to Beijing’s sensitive Tiananmen Square, requiring them to apply in advance to film or conduct interviews there, the city government said on Tuesday.

“To maintain a good order of reporting activities at the square, Chinese and foreign journalists are advised to make telephone appointments with the Administration Committee of Tiananmen Area,” said a notice posted on the official website of the Beijing government.

The notice suggested that the new requirement was introduced because of the use of the square for Olympic-related events expected to draw large crowds.

“During the Beijing Olympic Games, one large-scale cultural event would be held each day at Tiananmen Square,” it said.

“A large number of people would come to the square and enjoy the events,” it said.

China has introduced temporary rules allowing foreign journalists to interview any Chinese citizen who accepts a request before and during the games.

But officials have also warned many Beijing residents to avoid discussing sensitive subjects with foreign media.

Tiananmen Square was the prime site of the 1989 pro-democracy protests, which ended after the ruling Communist Party ordered tanks and troops into the square, in a crackdown that is believed to have cost several hundred lives.

Rights groups and families of victims continue to urge the government to investigate and make a full report of the Tiananmen crackdown.

In recent years, many petitioners from outside Beijing have tried to stage protests in the square.

The government has tightened security and introduced regulations sepcifically for the square in the run-up to the Olympics.

Security guards and paramilitary police check the identities and seach the bags of everyone entering the square.

Members of three to five families staged a small protest near Tiananmen Square on Monday to voice dissatisfaction over housing compensation, state media said.

State media said police ended the protest about 30 minutes after the families began talking to foreign reporters at the redeveloped Qianmen commercial area to the south of the square.

The Beijing Olympic organizing committee, BOCOG, arranged a group tour of the square on Tuesday afternoon for foreign Olympic reporters.

Report from bangkokpost.com

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2008 China Olympics: U.S. cyclists wear masks upon arrival in Beijing

Posted by Author on August 6, 2008


– from USA Today

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– More photos available from USA Today

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