18 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/07/2007 13:59
CHINA
Human rights abuses up as Olympics approach
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International fear things can get worse. Whole neighbourhoods have been ripped apart, homeowners thrown out, migrant workers exploited. Reporters Without Borders activists complain about censorship and are arrested. There is growing concern that the authorities are tightening the noose of social control to show the world a perfect image that hides the country’s problems.

Beijing (AsiaNews/HRW) – One year from the Beijing Olympics Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports no progress on human rights in China; instead, censorship on media and the internet is tighter, rights activists are in prison, repression of ethnic minorities in Tibet and Xingjian continues, priests are in jail, workers and migrants continue to be abused, and police keep on using force to break up peaceful protests.

In Beijing yesterday activists from Reporters Without Borders were held in police custody for hours after a press conference on the Games in which they said that the promised freedom of the press did not exist, that media censorship was up, that foreign journalists are forced to permission to leave their home base (in Beijing and Shanghai) and may be able to move with greater freedom only from August to October 2008.

The activists were kept for hours in a parking lot, their papers held by police, and then released without any explanation.

“Instead of a pre-Olympic ‘Beijing spring’ of greater freedom and tolerance of dissent, we are seeing the gagging of dissidents, a crackdown on activists, and attempts to block independent media coverage,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

When the International Olympics Committee elected Beijing as the host city for the 29th Olympic Games, it said that this would leave a “unique legacy to China and to sports.” However, many wonder what legacy will it be—an event for the population or a showcase for the elites?

HRW said that many gross human rights violations were in fact caused by the Olympics.

Forced evictions and school closures are among the legacy. Constructing ultra-modern facilities for the Games has involved forced evictions of thousands of residents in and around Beijing, often without adequate compensation or access to new housing. Entire neighbourhoods were ripped apart. The pre-Olympic “clean-up” of Beijing has resulted in the closure of dozens of officially unregistered schools for the children of migrant workers.  

Labour rights were abused. Thousands of migrant workers employed on Olympic and other construction sites across Beijing have not and still do not receive legally mandated pay and benefits, including labour insurance and days off, and are too often compelled to do dangerous work without adequate safeguards. 

Ethnic minorities have had to endure greater repression. Tibetan Buddhists in Tibet and Uighurs in Xingjian are still threatened by Chinese policies, including the immigration of ethnic Chinese into their provinces to occupy positions of power in government and commerce.

In Xingjian Muslim Uighurs are routinely accused of terrorism and sentenced to quick, secret and summary trials. The death penalty is common.

In Tibet Tibetan Buddhist are suspected of being “separatists” and are routinely imprisoned.

Religion and believers are also victims of state repression. China does not recognise freedom of religion outside the state-controlled system in which all congregations, mosques, temples, churches and monasteries must register. Dissidents end up in jail for periods of “re-education.”

As for the death penalty the government does not publicise figures, but it is mandated for no fewer than 68 crimes, many crimes of opinion. Often people on trial are not provided with proper legal representation, and trials are held in camera with sentences based on “confessions” extracted under torture.

Human rights activists are persecuted. Threats, jail time and illegal house arrests are frequent for anyone who dares to criticise the government. More importantly, HRW is concerned that the Olympic Games might give the government an excuse to carry out “preventive arrests” weeks if not months before the event.

China’s close relations with countries linked to severe, ongoing human rights violations are also a serious source of concern. China maintains relations with and provides aid to regimes including Sudan, the site of egregious human rights violations in Darfur, and Myanmar, whose military junta violently suppresses civilians.

“The Chinese government shouldn’t waste this unique opportunity to use the 2008 Games to demonstrate to the world it is serious about improving the rights situation in China,” HRW’s Adams said.

Amnesty International has also released a report slamming the ongoing persecution of media and rights activists and violation of human rights. The “police are using the pretext of the Olympics to extend the use of detention without trial,” it said.

In response to Amnesty’s criticism the Beijing Organising Committee Vice President Jiang Xiaoyu said that the organisers “absolutely oppose the politicisation of the Olympics, because this does not accord with the Olympic spirit."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
06/14/2005 CHINA
Don't look for 'freedom' and 'democracy' on Microsoft's China-based internet portal
04/30/2007 CHINA
Human rights violations rising as Olympic Games approach, says Amnesty International
07/29/2008 TIBET – CHINA
Shame on Olympic committee and foreign heads of government going to Beijing, says Tibetan leader
by Nirmala Carvalho
05/04/2005 NEPAL
Fundamental rights still in limbo, say rights groups
02/12/2010 ASIA – CANADA
Vancouver: Asia’s hopes in the 21st Winter Olympic games
CHINA
Beijing 2008: intellectuals and activists publish letter on Olympic Games and human rights
CHINA
Beijing more concerned about pollution than criticism about its human rights record
CHINA
So that the Beijing Olympics may not be a farce
CHINA
A campaign of “good manners” to show that Beijing is a great metropolis
CHINA
Investments and environmental disaster: the two faces of the Olympics
CHINA
Olympics: dissident lawyer beaten and arrested by police

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.