Jump to content

China Slams Jail Door On Olympic Dissent


Recommended Posts

Source:

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/350435

logo_torontostar.gif

China slams jail door on Olympic dissent

b2041fee4f9ea9185f78824d031e.jpeg

Hu Jia, shown in 2006, one of several critics of the Chinese government that China has brought before the courts in the run-up to the Olympics.

As torch lit, petitioner gets five years in prison

March 25, 2008 Bill Schiller

Asia Bureau

BEIJING–In the darkest of ironies, as the Olympic torch was lit in Athens yesterday, a court in China sentenced a man to five years in prison after he dared to say the principle of human rights is more important than the Olympic Games.

Unemployed former factory worker, Yang Chunlin, 54, gathered more than 10,000 signatures on a petition last year, appealing against illegal seizures of land from poor farmers by powerful local officials in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

The petition letter began: "We want human rights, not the Olympics."

Yang was promptly arrested July 6 and charged with trying to subvert state power – a broad charge frequently used against those who openly criticize the government.

After Yang's trial last month – which lasted less than a day – Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch said she feared that, "soon it will be official that objecting to the Olympics is a crime in China."

In fact, prosecution of outspoken Chinese citizens has picked up pace in the final months before the Games.

Yang's is the third case of a well-known dissident to come before the courts in recent weeks.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

Edited by juan antonio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

with all the events of the past few weeks on show for everyone to see it looks like China has no intention of addressing their human rights situation.

Lets face it, they aint going to have the games taken away from them now are they, so in my opinion id say things are more than likely going to escalate further before August.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing is, we may be hearing all this, but I don't think anyone in China is getting any word at all (at least officially).

It really seems China has all but given up trying to put on a good face to the rest of the world over the games _ it's pretty well a lost cause now anyway. All they're concerned about now is hyping it up internally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In that sense it will be a chilling version of the biggest sports Potemkin Village (so as not to embarass the CPC) the world has ever witnessed if things escalate in China's disfavor internationally, having to crack down on the Uighurs, the Chinese Muslim minority out in the West, the saga with Taiwan, its dealings with The Sudan, and of course Tibet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I think we can all agree on that this basically kills any future Olympic Games in China - including a Harbin Winter Games bid.

I hope so -- but I'm not sure whether the IOC will really react in such a way. Cash is more important than human rights -- you could see that when Sochi won the 2014 host city election. Is Putin's regime much better than the Soviet regime which was in charge during the 1980 Olympics? Doesn't his country show an alarming tendency to repression as well? But nevertheless, the IOC gave the Olympics a second time to a Russia which does not grant full human rights.

Currently I'm feeling as if we're back in the early 1980s: The Olympic Games have lost their entertaining and hope-raising character once more. I simply can't rejoice in a sports event hosted by repressive regimes, with the IOC looking away and counting dollars. And not to forget all those doping cases of the past few years which make watching the Games even more uncomfortable.

The Olympics are going down the dumper currently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope so -- but I'm not sure whether the IOC will really react in such a way. Cash is more important than human rights -- you could see that when Sochi won the 2014 host city election. Is Putin's regime much better than the Soviet regime which was in charge during the 1980 Olympics? Doesn't his country show an alarming tendency to repression as well? But nevertheless, the IOC gave the Olympics a second time to a Russia which does not grant full human rights.

Currently I'm feeling as if we're back in the early 1980s: The Olympic Games have lost their entertaining and hope-raising character once more. I simply can't rejoice in a sports event hosted by repressive regimes, with the IOC looking away and counting dollars. And not to forget all those doping cases of the past few years which make watching the Games even more uncomfortable.

The Olympics are going down the dumper currently.

For one thing, Putin's regime is a whole lot better than the Chinese communist party.

My main issue with Sochi is that, like Beijing, it has no venues nor infrastructure in place. Just recently, Sochi officials visited Vancouver and even they admitted that they are re-looking at what they had proposed in the bid....looking at Vancouver, they have realized that they need to be more realistic: their plans to build so much in such a short time in such a small city is starting to become questionable.

Putin's regime is certainly much much better than the Soviet regime of the 1980's. Did you forget the crushing of uprisings? The Berlin Wall? War in Afghanistan? etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For one thing, Putin's regime is a whole lot better than the Chinese communist party.

My main issue with Sochi is that, like Beijing, it has no venues nor infrastructure in place. Just recently, Sochi officials visited Vancouver and even they admitted that they are re-looking at what they had proposed in the bid....looking at Vancouver, they have realized that they need to be more realistic: their plans to build so much in such a short time in such a small city is starting to become questionable.

Putin's regime is certainly much much better than the Soviet regime of the 1980's. Did you forget the crushing of uprisings? The Berlin Wall? War in Afghanistan? etc.

I didn't say that Putin's regime is equally as bad as the Chinese or the Soviet regime. But it strongly tends to a less free, more totalitarian system. Elections are manipulated, there's a leader cult around Putin (the Nashi youth movement, which reminds me very much of the Hitler Youth), all media are more or less influenced by the Kremlin, free-thinking journalists are being killed and the police shows inappropriate violence against protesters, such as homosexual groups. Not everything was perfect under Yeltsin's rule, but Putin worsened the situation a lot. Russia is far away from being a healthy democracy. And that's why I'm already very much worried that in the lead-up to Sochi 2014, we could have the same or at least similar discussions as now before Beijing 2008.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For one thing, Putin's regime is a whole lot better than the Chinese communist party.

My main issue with Sochi is that, like Beijing, it has no venues nor infrastructure in place. Just recently, Sochi officials visited Vancouver and even they admitted that they are re-looking at what they had proposed in the bid....looking at Vancouver, they have realized that they need to be more realistic: their plans to build so much in such a short time in such a small city is starting to become questionable.

Putin's regime is certainly much much better than the Soviet regime of the 1980's. Did you forget the crushing of uprisings? The Berlin Wall? War in Afghanistan? etc.

I'm sorry but there has been very little change in the way Russia interacts with other countries. In the early 1990's the Russians were humbled by their economic crisis, but now the leaders are back to what they ever were - bullying, murdering, etc.... It may not be on the scale of what happens in China, although at least China keeps its bad behaviour within its own borders for the most part, and at least China is slowly heading in the right direction - Russia is not.

Russian aggression has included the blackmail of neighbouring countries by turning off their power supplies, involvement in foreign elections - anyone remember the poisoning of Yushchenko in the Ukraine, the silencing of anyone critical of the regime - such as the poisoning of Litvinenko in London, there is suppression in peripheral regions of Russia that would rival anything the Chinese do in Tibet.

Russia has also proven that its not against using culture and sport as a political tool - the approach of the Sochi Winter Olympics will be very eventful - thank goodness it's only the Winter Games!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm surprised no-one has posted the verdict and sentencing from yersterday here:

PARIS, April 3, 2008 (AFP) - Condemnation of China was unanimous Thursday -- with the conspicuous absence of the International Olympic Committee -- after Beijing jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia for three-and-a-half years.

But despite what rights groups charge is a campaign by China to silence dissent before the August Games, major powers were still shying away from any talk of boycott.

Hu, 34, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for ``incitement to subvert state power'' following a one-day trial last month.

France called on China to slash the sentence, which Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Human Rights Junior Minister Rama Yade said in a joint statement was ``a serious disappointment.''

``Hu Jia, an emblematic human rights activist, merely exercised his right to freedom of expression. We hope for Hu Jia's family to be left alone and for China to rapidly consider reducing his sentence,'' they wrote.

However, the reaction by the United States was reserved, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Bucharest for a NATO summit, calling the decision ``deeply disturbing.''

Rice said: ``It is exactly the kind of decision that we have tried to convince the Chinese which is not only not in the interest of human rights and in the interest of the rule of law, but actually not in Chinese interest.

``That is a case that we are going to continue to make,'' she added. ``There is no doubt that this is a decision that is deeply disturbing to us, and we are communicating that to the Chinese authorities.''

Asked, however, about President George W. Bush changing his position on a boycott of the opening ceremony, Rice added: ``The president has spoken (of) the fact that this is a sporting event.''

Hein Verbruggen, head of the IOC's Coordination Commission, advising Beijing on how to prepare for the Games in August, sidestepped the issue with reporters.

``It is not up to us to comment on those cases,'' he said. ``It is a matter of Chinese law and is not a matter for the Olympic Games or the IOC.''

But Hu's wife, Zeng Jinyan, 24, who recently gave birth to their first child, said the verdict was the culmination of four years of harassment.

``He's been under surveillance, been kidnapped. He's been put under house arrest and now they have sentenced him to three and a half years'. This is irrational and unfair,'' she said.

``Hu Jia was very proud that the Olympic Games would finally be hosted by China but he didn't want to see that a lot of ordinary people were suffering because of the Olympic Games,'' Zeng added.

While China denied any link, one rights expert accused the IOC of operating within a ``moral void'' and warned that countries who refuse to sanction Beijing would be joining a ``conspiracy of silence.''

``Hu has become a political prisoner, and without the Olympics, he would not be in jail. The very reason he was arrested was that he raised issues at the time of the Olympics,'' said Nicholas Bequelin, a Human Rights Watch China expert.

``The truth is that the moral void in which the IOC operates is harming the protection of human rights in China.''

``A failure to speak out (by states) would be a 'conspiracy of silence' that will be perceived by the authorities as a tacit endorsement of such repression,'' he added.

Amnesty International added in its statement that ``promises made by Chinese officials that human rights would improve in the run-up to the Olympics remain unfulfilled.''

NEW YORK, April 3, 2008 (AFP) - The jailing of Chinese rights activist Hu Jia reflects a ``further hardening'' of Beijing's crackdown on dissent ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Hu, 34, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for ``incitement to subvert state power'' after a one-day trial last month.

Hu's arrest ``was unjustified, his trial unfair, and his sentence unwarranted,'' HRW Asia advocacy director Sophie Richardson said in a statement.

The US-based rights group said in a separate March 31 letter addressed to the ethics commission of the International Olympics Committee that it was not calling for a general boycott of the August Games.

The group ``believes that the current position of the Olympic movement on human rights is inconsistent with the Olympic Charter, which identifies 'respect for universal fundamental ethical principles' as a core principle of Olympism,'' the letter read.

The group also believes ``that the Olympic movement cannot operate in a moral void.''

HRW believes ``that the Olympics is a unique and appropriate moment for the world to pay attention to China's human rights record, and an important opportunity for China's government to make improvements,'' the letter added.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...