Three activists from Paris-based press-freedom group Reporters Without Borders, including its secretary-general Robert Ménard, managed to disrupt yesterday’s Olympic flame ceremony by unfurling a banner showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs in the middle of a speech by Mr Liu Qi, president of the Beijing organising committee and Beijing Communist Party Secretary. The banner included the slogan, “‘Boycott the country that tramples on human rights”.
According to a report by AP:
Police also detained one Tibetan campaigner and a Greek photographer with him in the village of Ancient Olympia, just outside the site, where Tibet protesters had gathered.
Mr Lhadon Tethong, director of Students for a Free Tibet, said both men were taken to the local police station.
‘One of our colleagues saw them being dragged by about 20 police through town,’ Mr Tethong said.
CCTV appeared well-prepared for surprises though. It cut to “what appeared to be stock pictures of the ceremony site in Olympia”. Commentary on Greek TV also made zero mention of the incident.
Opposed to holding the Olympic Games in Beijing from the outset, Reporters Without Borders has capitalised on latest developments in Tibet to lobby western nations to boycott the Games.
According to the organisation (proxy/VPN required), there are nine things the Chinese government must do before the Beijing Olympic Games:
1. Release all journalists and Internet users detained in China for exercising their right to information.
2. Abolish for ever the restrictive articles in the Foreign Correspondents Guide that limit the media’s freedom of movement and work.
3. Disband the Publicity Department (the former Propaganda Department), which exercises daily control over content in the Chinese press.
4. End the jamming of foreign radio stations.
5. End the blocking of thousands of news and information websites based abroad.
6. Suspend the “11 Commandments of the Internet,” which lead to content censorship and self-censorship on websites.
7. End the blacklisting of journalists and human rights activists, which prevents them from visiting China.
8. Lift the ban on Chinese media using foreign news agency video footage and news reports without permission.
9. Legalize independent organisations of journalists and human rights activists.