With the upcoming Olympics and the subsequent global attention, the government obviously wants the nation to look its best, which in China sometimes translates to quashing dissent. Two European-based human rights groups working together as the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders recently published a report declaring that the government has stepped up attempts to quiet dissidents, citing four people arrested for Olympic Games protests, including Hu Jia, who was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for criticizing the government’s human rights violations. More from the AFP article:
In a foreword to the report, writer Wei Jingsheng wrote: “In particular, last year the Chinese Government’s repression has rapidly upgraded, in an effort to make sure there is no dissident voices from the people during the 2008 Olympics.”
Outside China, charged Wei, some Western politicians have even tried to stop their sportsmen from expressing their political opinions on China during the Games.
In February, the London-based Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that the British Olympic Association had inserted clauses into its athletes’ contracts forbidding them to comment on “politically sensitive issues.”
Other human rights repression in China had included the forced evictions of citizens from their homes as well as censorship of the media and Internet, said the NGO.
Press freedom in China is now among the lowest in the world, and commentaries are tailored to meet “the propaganda standard(s) of the Chinese Communist Party,” said the report.
More unlucky dissidents in the news:
- Huang Qi, founder of pro-human rights website 64Tianwang, disappeared last week after being forced into a car in Chengdu. For the BBC updates on the story, click here.
- Pro-democracy activist “Mr Zhang” has committed suicide, finally giving up hope when Australia announced it would deport him back to China, where he said his life would be in danger on account of his links to pro-democracy groups.
- After writing several articles online about his experiences in the earthquake and criticizing shoddy school construction, schoolteacher Zeng Honglin was detained June 9 and is being held in Chengdu, at least according to a Hong Kong human rights group — the local government has refused to confirm the report.
Photo from Thomas Hawk