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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Increase in pre-Olympic Repression

June 29, 2008

24 journalists and cyber-dissidents arrested or sentenced since January
Reporters Without Borders
June 27, 2008

Reporters Without Borders has recorded 24 cases of journalists,
cyber-dissidents or free expression activists being arrested or
sentenced to jail terms since the start of the year. At the same
time, at least 80 foreign journalists have been obstructed in the
course of their work, above all in the Tibetan regions and in Sichuan.

"Where is the opening so often promised by the organisers of the
Beijing Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee?" the
press freedom organisation asked. "Instead of an opening, these games
are being used, more than ever, as a pretext to arrest, harass and
censor. This situation is unacceptable and reflects the IOC's
inability to guarantee a favourable environment for the games in
accordance with the Olympic Charter."

Last year ended badly with the arrest of leading activist Hu Jia in
late December, and the start of this year was marked by his sentence
to three and a half years in prison. But at least 23 other
journalists, online writers and free speech activists have been
arrested or sentenced to prison terms.

The authorities have made some concessions, such as the release of
Ching Cheong and Yu Huafeng, but they have taken no account of the
fact that the health of Zhang Jianhong, a writer better known as Li
Hong, and Yang Maodong, a writer better known Guo Feixiong, has
deteriorated in prison.

The terrible earthquake in Sichuan has not helped to reduce the
repression either. Journalist Qi Chonghuai was sentenced to four
years in prison the day after the quake. And Huang Qi, a well-known
activist who has a human rights website, was arrested on 10 June for
reporting the arrest of a person who had been writing accounts of the
quake and its aftermath.

The harassment of activists who talk to the foreign news media or
write articles for overseas Chinese media has also been stepped up.
This campaign is being orchestrated by the public security and state
security departments in order to intimidate human rights activists
who might try to speak out before or during the games.

Reporters Without Borders' chief demand, as regards the Beijing
Olympics, has always been the release of imprisoned journalists,
cyber-dissidents and free expression activists before the start of the games.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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