Monday, August 25, 2008

Protest and Survive in China

Given their heavy handed security and pinkerton styled policing in years past, dispite public statements, I'm sure the IOC was plenty happy to have this years' events in an authoritarian police state. And 2012 will be in London, the city that is under complete video surveillance.

Here are a few facts I gathered concerning the protests of the Olympics in China.

Chairman of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge stated that the Chinese government designated three Beijing parks for protests during the Olympics, but it did not approve even one of the 77 protest applications it received.

Human Rights Watch has listed the cases of over 10 different Chinese nationals that were harassed and/or detained after applying to the police for permission to protest in the parks. Reporters Without Borders states that at least 50 Beijing-based human rights activists were placed under house arrest, harassed or forced to leave the capital during the games.

Jonathan Watts, the president of the Foreign Correspondents Club in China, said "Outside the stadiums, we have confirmed more than 30 cases of reporting interference, heard of another 20," by Chinese government officials.

According to Human Rights Watch, internet access was restricted inside the main olympic reporting headquarters and blocked teh following websites:
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Amnesty International
  • Reporters Sans Frontières
  • the Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Human Rights in China.
Reporters were also unable to access the web pages of Tibetan and Uighur groups, as well as those of the Falun Gong, which the Chinese government has classified as an “evil cult,” including the sites of media outlets associated with the Falun Gong, such as New Tang Dynasty and the Epoch Times. One journalist told Human Rights Watch that although the US State Department’s website was not blocked, its annual human rights report on China would not open.

8 US citizens that were publicly protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet were arrested and jailed. They were finally deported after the closing ceremonies, apparently only after the US Embassy insisted upon their release.

Brian Conley of Philadelphia and Jeff Rae of Wayne, Delaware County, were with a group from Students for a Free Tibet when they were arrested by Beijing police last week.

"Jeff said he was slapped around and threatened, with them saying, 'Do you want your head cut off or do you want to be shot?' " William Rae said. "All they had to eat was rice and hot water. After they fell asleep, they were awakened and taken to an interrogation room, and it started all over."

"They tore up his plane ticket, but when they got to the airport, they told him to use his credit card to buy a ticket on Air China," William Rae said. "He said no, and they took his credit card and charged the flight. Another guy didn't have a credit card or money, so they charged his ticket with Jeff's credit card."

In other Olympic news, congrats to US Water Polo for the Silver Metals! The men lost only to Hungary, the greatest Water Polo team in the world. The women's team lost by one, a stunning last second goal by Netherlands.

No comments: