Tuesday, July 29, 2008
China is using the Beijing Olympics as a pretext to pursue — and in some cases tighten — a crackdown on human rights, notably ridding the capital of “undesirables,” Amnesty International charged Monday.
Reporting 11 days ahead of the August 8 opening ceremony, the rights group said that despite some minor reforms, authorities had stepped up repression of activists and lawyers to present a picture of stability and harmony.
Amnesty urged the International Olympic Committee and political leaders to do far more to challenge China, warning of even more repressive measures once the spotlight on the Games has faded away.
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“Unless the authorities make a swift change of direction, the legacy of the Beijing Olympics will not be positive for human rights in China,” it warned.
“In fact, the crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers has intensified because Beijing is hosting the Olympics.”
Amnesty’s report, citing specific cases, said activists who had tied their cause to the Games had been singled out for the pre-Olympics “clean-up,” while many others were being detained, imprisoned or placed under house arrest.