Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Chinese government's expressed concern with creating a ‘harmonious’ environment for society’s development is raising fears that the Olympic Games will provide a platform for human rights abuses, this according to a report published today by Amnesty International.
The latest issue of The Olympics Countdown report, which judges the mainland's recent record on human rights according to the core principles of the Olympic Charter, expressed concern for the continued suppression of political activists and raises doubts about the effectiveness of reforms to the death penalty.
One example cited in the report is February's announcement that drug addicts in the capital may have to undergo an extended, one-year 2enforced rehabilitation” in the lead-up to the Games.
This heightens concerns that Beijing's might use the Olympics as a pretext to remove activists and dissidents and send them to laogai camps, i.e. Re-education through Labour camps.
Despite repeated attempts to reform the criminal justice system, China’s police continues to detain petty criminals and other socially undesirable elements without charge or trial.
Amnesty fears that Beijing might use its powers to clean up the capital and the country of all those people deemed socially dangerous before foreign tourists and journalists arrive in great numbers.
Although the international human rights organisation points to “signs of growing tolerance for individual rights activism”—citing the successful attempts by some individuals to win better compensation in return for the forced demolition of their homes—it says that abuse of activists who defend wider human or political rights is on the increase.
“Arbitrary detention, harassment and surveillance of such activists and their families has continued since the publication of the last Olympics update, with the convictions of several key rights advocates [. . .]. It is likely . . . that the Chinese authorities will employ similar tactics at the time of the Olympics in 2008,” the report said.