The Olympics

The Olympics


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Monday, 30 April 2007

Olympic Catalyst for Abuse

Amnesty International has issued a report warning that as China prepares to host the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the preparations are in fact acting as a "catalyst" for worsening abuses of human rights.

Amnesty notes that there is now an extensive use of detention-without-trial by police, and an increase in the persecution of civil-rights activists.

Amnesty also notes that new methods are being deployed to rein in the domestic media and censor the internet.

They ask that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should raise the issue with the Chinese government.

"The IOC cannot want an Olympics that is tainted with human rights abuses....the Olympics is apparently acting as a catalyst to extend the use of detention without trial".

China has not yet responded to the report. However, in the past it has stated that it is fulfilling all the commitments made in its bid for the games and has accused Amnesty of being biased against the Chinese government.

Giselle Davies, an IOC spokeswoman, said that the governing body would "want to take the time to digest it before making any further reaction".

Amnesty may do well to remember that the pace of economic and social change in China needs to be managed with care, lest there be a total fragmentation of society. To blame the Olympics for everything that Amnesty disapproves of is maybe far too simplistic.

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