21 January 2018
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Beijing: Olympic Games and Human Rights

Beijing more concerned about pollution than criticism about its human rights record
Yesterday’s pre-Olympic events in Tiananmen Square were full of shows and leaders’ speeches stressing national pride and world solidarity. Major anti-pollution measures are planned for the Games but endurance events might have to be moved. Pro-human rights in China demonstrations take place around the world.

Beijing 2008: intellectuals and activists publish letter on Olympic Games and human rights
AsiaNews is backing and publishing the appeal signed by Ding Zilin, Liu Xiaobo, Bao Tong, Hu Jia and others calling on the Chinese government and world leaders to promote human rights at the Olympic Games so that they can be truly memorable.

Investments and environmental disaster: the two faces of the Olympics
Airports doubled in size, new roads, hotels and state of the art sporting facilities: Beijing will spend twice the cost of Athens 2004. Despite the superficial slogans, for many Chinese the Olympics “rather than a dream is already a giant nightmare”.

A campaign of “good manners” to show that Beijing is a great metropolis
During the Olympics, it will be banned to spit on the streets, litter or “jump” queues. The city centre will be closed to most traffic and taxi drivers will be made wash themselves to avoid body odour. Foreign papers and books will be sold, upon till now banned under severe censorship.

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.

So that the Beijing Olympics may not be a farce
A year from the Games Beijing and China are getting ready to host the event that will make them the centre of the world. But changes in China will be seen as real depending on how much attention will be paid to the poor, freedom and democracy.

Olympics: dissident lawyer beaten and arrested by police
Zheng and about a hundred expropriated property owners tried unsuccessfully to be admitted in the trial of a Shanghai property developer up on corruption charges. A year from the Olympic Games, experts and trade union activists view the human rights situation as worse.

Editor's choices

Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

Fady Noun

A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.

Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison

The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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