Amnesty International Claim Olympic Values Betrayed

Amnesty International’s latest report claim that Chinese authorities have broken their promise to improve the country’s human rights, betraying the very core values the Olympics stand for. ‘The Olympics Countdown: Broken Promises’ evaluates the performance of the Chinese authorities in four key areas related to the values of the Olympics –

  • persecution of human rights activists
  • detention without trial
  • censorship
  • the death penalty

Amnesty International Australia concludes that China still has a continuing deterioration in all the above human rights in the run-up to the Olympics, with authorities locking up and forcibly removing individuals they perceive may threaten their image of national harmony. Amnesty has also released their viral film ‘False Start’, which highlights the persecution of people who speak up for human rights in China.

Amnesty International believes journalists working on human rights issues in China are at risk of abuse during the Games, with activist Hu Jia currently serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for ‘inciting subversion’. Hu Jia is now suffering from Hepatitis B in prison as authorities have prevented his family from providing him with medicine.

The Chinese authorities have extended the use of punitive detention to ensure activists stay out of sight during the Games, with many being held in prisons across China. Others known activists are under house arrest and are being tightly monitored by police to ensure they will not disrupt the Olympics.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director, Tim Hancock, said –

‘The Chinese authorities have broken the promises they made when they were granted the Olympics seven years ago. They told the world that the Olympics would help bring human rights to China, but the government continues to persecute and punish those who speak out for human rights ahead of the Games. The Olympic values have been betrayed by the Chinese government. They must release all imprisoned peaceful activists, allow foreign and national journalists to report freely and make further progress towards the elimination of the death penalty – or risk permanently sullying the legacy of the Olympics.’


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