Amnesty Report Addresses Human Rights and Olympics

July 28, 2008 Updated: July 29, 2008

Amnesty International has released a report which condemns the Chinese government for breaking their promise to improve human rights and for violating the core values of the Olympics.

Just 10 days left before the Olympics, Amnesty International published a report entitled “The Olympics countdown—broken promises,” which compares four areas of conduct the Communist regime’s to the values of the Olympics.

"By continuing to persecute and punish those who speak out for human rights, the Chinese authorities have lost sight of the promises they made when they were granted the Games seven years ago," said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific deputy director at a press conference in Hong Kong. "The Chinese authorities are tarnishing the legacy of the Games. They must release all imprisoned peaceful activists, allow foreign and national journalists to report freely, and make further progress towards the elimination of the death penalty."

The categories covered in the report include China’s persecution of human rights activists, detention without trial, censorship, and the death penalty. The document points out that human rights in China have deteriorated leading up to the Olympics. It also points out that activists and journalists in particular are in danger due to China being granted the Olympic Games.

"It is time for President Bush to raise his voice clearly and definitively to promote human rights in China," said T. Kumar, Asia advocacy director at Amnesty International USA. "Not only do Chinese human rights activists need his direct support, but a failure to speak out will send the message that the United States finds it acceptable to hold the Olympic Games in a repressive atmosphere."

In 2001, during the time when China had been granted the rights to host the 2008 Olympic Games, Wang Wei, Secretary General of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee made a statement about the changes that China would make with the Olympics. "We will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China,” said Wei. “We are confident that the Games coming to China not only promote our economy but also enhance all social conditions, including education, health and human rights."

Despite these promises, the new Amnesty International report shows that China is still riddled with human rights violations. Covered are China’s detention practices which include “Re-education Through Labor” and “Enforced Drug Rehabilitation,” which have been set to help ensure that activists are nowhere to be found during the Olympic Games.

Many political prisoners and prisoners of conscience still remain detained throughout China, with some of the better known ones being heavily monitored by police or put under house arrest. Also, the Communist regime’s casual use of the death penalty was also addressed. There are 68 crimes in China that can be punishable by death, including drug-related and economic offenses.

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