"Beijing Olympics! Put Down Your Handcuffs!"

In 2001, in order to win the right to host the Olympics, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promised the international community that it would improve its human rights record and allow more freedom of the press. However, what is happening in China is just the opposite to what the Communist regime promised.

In 2001, Liu Qi, president of the Organizing Committee of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and then Mayor of Beijing promised the International Olympics Committee (IOC) meeting in Moscow that if Beijing won the bid to host the Olympic Games, it would "promote our economic and social progress and will also benefit the further development of human rights". Wang Wei, Secretary General of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Bid Committee, promised to accelerate the improvement of the human rights situation in China and indicated that, "We will grant full freedom of the press to the journalists coming to China. They will be able to visit Beijing and other cities and cover any news event before and during the Olympic Games. We will also allow demonstrations."

Li Lanqing, then member of the CCP Polit-bureau, Vice-premier of the State Council, told the IOC that "the Chinese government will honour each and every commitment it has made in Beijing's Candidature File and will do whatever it can to assist Beijing to fulfill its promises." The President of China Olympic Committee He Zhenliang boasted, "If you honour Beijing the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games, I can assure you, my dear friends, that, in seven years from now, Beijing will make you proud of the decision you make here today."

After winning the bid for the Olympics, Liu Qi told reporters, "Now that Beijing has won the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games, we will fulfill our promises and do well in various tasks in the construction of stadiums according to our promises made in our bid, and we will present to the whole world in 2008 the most outstanding Olympic Games ever in history."

The Communist regime first bid for the Olympic Games in 1993. That bid failed largely because the international community was disgusted with the adverse human rights record in China. However, seven to eight years later, the CCP got what it wanted. It succeeded this time largely because the IOC trusted CCP promises to improve human rights and guarantee freedom of the press.

Quite a number of people in the western world believed the CCP's promises, and thought the Olympic Games had put a pair of "golden handcuffs" on the regime. They hoped that the international community would supervise and push the regime to improve its human rights record in the name of the Olympic Games.

In the seven years since 2001, the facts show that the regime has failed to improve human rights as promised, and actually done the opposite, cracking down on all voices the CCP deems as "threats," and doing do in the name of "preparing" for the Olympics. So, the Olympics, an international symbol of peace and respect for human rights, is scheduled to go ahead as planned in CCP China, which has only intensified its human rights abuses.

Human rights in China over the last seven years have shown no sign of improvement. In fact, they continue to deteriorate with each passing day.

Over the past seven years, continuing to this day, the regime has openly suppressed civil rights movements with armed forces. As for dissidents, it either monitors them closely, threatens them or puts them in prison with heavy sentences. Those who appeal for basic rights are beaten up, arrested and taken back to their hometowns. Censorship and control over the media is stricter than ever. If an article is a tiny bit "off line," the chief editor could be dismissed or the newspaper ordered to close, and the author of the article would be singled out and criticized.

Internet control is even more terrifying, with tens of thousands of Internet police monitoring the movements of Internet users 24 hours a day. Many writers on the Internet fell into the hands of the agents and were put into jail. In short, in order to host the Olympic Games, the Communist regime has become frenzied and hysterical in their abuses of human rights.

To allow freedom of press was an important part of the promises the CCP made when bidding for the Olympic Games. Due to international pressure, the regime started to implement the "Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists during the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period." The new rules allow foreign journalists in China to interview people freely during the Olympic Games, and they are not limited to sporting issues either, and can cover fields including politics, technology, culture and economy. However, an investigation published last August by foreign journalists in Beijing shows that of the 163 journalists interviewed, 95% believe the reporting environment in China has failed to meet the international standard; 67% believe the regime has failed to keep its promise to allow foreign journalists more freedom of reporting; 40% expressed that they had experienced certain interference and restriction from the Chinese government, including being followed and monitored, threatened or harassed, unlawful detention or violent attack against themselves or their sources of news.

Some foreign journalists said that when they reported on sensitive incidents such as protests they would be stopped by the authorities, and when they reported sensitive issues regarding minority nationalities, they would often experience interference from the government.

According to a report published early in the year by Paris-based "Reporters without Borders," about 80 journalists and Internet users were imprisoned, some have been locked up since 1980. The regime has closed several thousand Internet websites, and the users are closely monitored by the Internet police. In 2007, as many as 180 foreign journalists experienced attacks, threats or arrests in China.

Hence it is clear that the Communist regime has no intention to provide freedom of the press. Its so-called "regulations" to guarantee it are nothing more than window dressing; the truth is there is no freedom of the press.

As the Olympic Games approach, the regime has accelerated its arrests of dissidents. On January 17th 2008, Yu Changwu, a rights activist for peasants who lost their land, was sentenced to two years of forced labour. The forced labour decision statement claimed that he organized people to appeal, wanting human rights instead of the Olympics and wanting land instead of the Olympics. He was accused of being interviewed by overseas media, and having made contact with media having a Falun Gong background. Therefore, he had "damaged national security and public order," meeting the conditions for forced labour.

According to another report, Beijing human rights lawyer Teng Biao was kidnapped on the evening of March 6 this year and his whereabouts remain unknown. Another human rights lawyer, Li Heping, was driving his seven-year-old son to school when his car was run into intentionally by another vehicle. The back of his car was smashed. Li Heping recognized the three people in the vehicle; they had been following him for some time. Li Heping is a practising lawyer in Beijing, a Christian. He has acted as legal advisor and defense counsel for some political dissidents, religious people and human rights defenders, including human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng. In September 2007, Li Heping was kidnapped by a group of thugs wearing masks and suffered beatings and electric shocks. Li Heping said that while he was being beaten, the thugs repeatedly threatened him that he must take his whole family and "get out of Beijing." Otherwise, he and his family would suffer serious consequences.

In the run-up to the Olympics, the persecution of Falun Gong is also accelerating.

As early as 2005, the regime's Deputy Minister of Public Security Liu Jing ordered to eliminate Falun Gong prior to the opening of the Olympic Games. The order was passed down to the public security departments nationwide and they were ordered to implement the scheme. In March 2007, former Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang again issued orders to strictly crack down on Falun Gong across China. Soon afterwards, massive arrests and serious persecution cases took place in many regions in China. Some practitioners were detained or sentenced to imprisonment, some disappeared, some were tortured to death; a large number of Falun Gong practitioners who were already unlawfully detained in labour camps or prisons suffered further maltreatment under the new order.

According to inside sources, on February 19, 2008, the Communist regime issued a secret document in the name of "the Central Political and Judiciary Committee," which was titled "Suggestions to Guarantee the Security of the Beijing Olympic Games." The document was sent to 40 "Political and Judiciary committees" and "Offices to Guard Against and to Handle Evil Cults" at the provincial level. The document clearly demanded that the committees and offices "carry out special activities to investigate and dissolve conflicts with concentrated time and manpower," "to enhance the management and control of foreign journalists coming to report the Olympic Games," and "to strengthen the management of Internet and short messages sent by mobile phones." It especially stressed "to strictly guard against and hit hard" on Falun Gong. After the secret document was passed on to various provinces, Clearwisdom.net received a large number of reports of kidnapping cases, and the death toll has also seen a rise. By March 11th 2008, 1878 unlawful arrests of Falun Gong practitioners had been reported since the end of 2007 all across China, including: 252 cases in Hebei Province, 221 cases in Shandong Province, 218 cases in Heilongjiang Province, 156 cases in Beijing, 125 cases in Jilin Province, 99 cases in Henan Province, 85 cases in Guangdong Province, 58 cases in Tianjin City, 51 in Hubei Province, 45 in Shanghai, 34 in Anhui Province, 30 in Jiangxi Province, 30 in Inner Mongolian Autonomous Regions, 27 in Zhejiang Province, 23 in Shaanxi Province, 21 in Chongqing City, 20 in Gansu Province, 17 in Guizhou Province, 16 in Hunan Province, 15 in Jiangsu Province, 13 in Shanxi Province, 10 in Ningxia Autonomous Region, 10 in Yunnan Province, 6 in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, 5 in Fujian Province, 4 in Guangxi Autonomous Region and 1 from Qinghai Province.

The worst area is Beijing because of the Olympic facilities. From December 2007 to mid-March 2008, as many as 190 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested, some 10% of the arrests reported nationwide. The arrest rate in Beijing seems much higher than elsewhere. The Shunyi County in Beijing will host Olympic water games such as yacht races and dinghy races, as well as horsemanship. About a year prior to the Olympic Games, there were 20 Falun Gong arrests in that area. Most took place around Mapo, Mulin, Beixiaoying township, Tianlan near Beijing airport, Houshayu township and the city area.

In short, the Communist regime has used the Olympic Games to put handcuffs on various groups of people it is scared of, and behind the happy facade of the Olympics lies the bloody persecution of innocent Chinese people. The CCP has once again shown the world's people that no matter what nice things it says, and no matter how moving its promises sound, the CCP will never change its violent and deceptive nature.

Preservation of human dignity and respect for basic ethical principles are core values of the Olympic Charter. Yet in China, the Beijing Olympic Games have become a bloody "handcuffs Olympics." This not only violates the dignity of the Chinese people but also the Olympic spirit. Conscience does not allow us to still keep silent.

Let's work together to stop the atrocities that are taking place in China under the excuse of the Olympic Games. Let us raise our voices of justice and say, "Beijing Olympics! Put down your handcuffs!"


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