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China: Hosting Olympics a Catalyst for Human Rights Abuses

August 24, 2008

For Immediate Release
China: Hosting Olympics a Catalyst for Human Rights Abuses
IOC and World Leaders Fail to Challenge Great Leap Backward for Rights in China
Human Right Watch
August 22, 2008

(New York, August 22, 2008) -- The hosting of the 2008 Beijing
Olympics has set back the clock for the respect of human rights in
the People's Republic of China, Human Rights Watch said ahead of the
Games' closing ceremony in Beijing on Sunday, August 24. Over the
past year Human Rights Watch has monitored and documented extensive
human rights violations directly linked to the preparation and the
hosting of the Games.

"The 2008 Beijing Games have put an end -- once and for all -- to the
notion that these Olympics are a 'force for good,'" said Sophie
Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "The
reality is that the Chinese government's hosting of the Games has
been a catalyst for abuses, leading to massive forced evictions, a
surge in the arrest, detention, and harassment of critics, repeated
violations of media freedom, and increased political repression."

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee
(IOC), told Reuters in August 2007 that, "We believe the Games are
going to move ahead the agenda of the social and human rights as far
as possible, the Games are going to be a force for good."

Human Rights Watch pointed out that, to the contrary, the Chinese
government has consistently violated its Olympics-related human
rights commitments. In addition, the International Olympic Committee
has failed in its duty to ensure that the government fulfilled those
pledges. The Chinese government's unrelenting campaign during the
Games to squelch legal peaceful protests, limit media freedom, and
restrict the internet access of journalists reinforces the urgent
need for the IOC to establish a permanent mechanism to monitor the
human rights performance and compliance of future Olympic host countries.

"Not a single world leader who attended the Games or members of the
IOC seized the opportunity to challenge the Chinese government's
behavior in any meaningful way," Richardson said. "Will anyone
wonder, after the Games are over, why the Chinese government remains
intransigent about human rights?"

For more information on China's Olympics-related human rights abuses,
please see the following Human Rights Watch resources:

· "2008 Beijing Olympics focus page: http://china.hrw.org/

· "China: Police Detain Would-Be Olympic Protesters,"
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/08/12/china19601.htm

· "China: End Abuses of Media Freedom,"
http://china.hrw.org/press/news_release/china_end_abuses_of_media_freedom

· "China: Games Open Amid Restrictions on Media,"
http://china.hrw.org/press/news_release/china_games_open_amid_restrictions_on_media

For more information, please contact:
In Hong Kong, Nicholas Bequelin (English, French, Mandarin):
+852-8198-1040 (mobile)
In Hong Kong, Phelim Kine (English, Mandarin): +852-6604-9792 (mobile)
In Washington, DC, Sophie Richardson (English, Mandarin):
+1-202-612-4341; +1-917-721-7473 (mobile)
In New York, Minky Worden (English, Cantonese): +1-212-216-1250; or
+1-917-497-0540 (mobile), wordenm@hrw.org
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