SAN DIEGO─With the Human Rights Torch due to arrive in San Diego this April, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, local supporters, human rights activists, and onlookers gathered in Balboa Park on Sunday, Dec. 9 for the Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) preliminary awareness event.
Paintings and photos depicting scenes of injustice and those who endure it stood lined up on the grass. A large banner behind them read, "The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China!"
Speakers commented on the importance of the call for human rights in China. "In 2000, when a delegation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) visited China, the Beijing government hired workers to dye the lawns green. How many other such tricks were employed to swindle the IOC into voting for Beijing's Olympics in 2008 we don't know," said UCSD PhD student Jim Li. "Yet that gives you some idea of how much trouble the CCP would go to maintain a good international image despite its horrible human rights record, sizzling social instability, and ever worsening environmental problems."
After having been granted the rights to hold the Olympic Games with a pledge to adhere to the Olympic charter and improve its human rights record, numerous reports have shown that human rights abuses in China have actually increased.
The HRTR was started by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) to call for an end to the persecution and suppression of Falun Gong adherents, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, Uighurs, human rights advocates, reporters, and defense lawyers in China before the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Human Rights Torch Relay Started in Athens, Greece With its flame lit on Aug. 9, 2007 in Athens, Greece, the Human Rights Torch will pass through 37 countries on five continents, leaving in its wake a message that the free world will not allow injustice to hide behind a symbol of world peace.
Professional educator and member of Toastmasters International David D. Allen gave a speech, describing his experiences while teaching at a university in Shuzhou Province, China.
"On the campus where I was, I went with a Christian organization. The young ones were a little troubled as they had a member of the Communist Party sitting on the school board because of quote, unquote, religious activity there," said Allen. "We've heard how the government in China is Communist now in name only. That's one of the big lies that we've heard."
Also speaking at the event was David A. Meyer, member of the International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance, and President of San Diego's Church of Scientology. Meyer addressed some of the backdoor crimes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that have directly affected the rest of the world.
Meyer mentioned the CCP's support of the military junta in Burma, one of the largest exporters of cocaine in the world. He also talked about the Chinese Communists use of forced labor to produce goods for export, as well as the issue of human trafficking.
"Every person on the planet is entitled to certain rights simply by the fact we are members of the family of mankind. These are rights for you and me that give us rights to be, to do, and to have. These are rights for our protection against people who might harm us or try to take these rights away. They help us get along with others and respect the difference we celebrate; so we can live together in peace," said Meyer.
"The Olympics are being hosted in China in 2008, which will flow millions of dollars into China even though they continue gross human rights abuses and violations of the Declaration of Human Rights."