China: Hosting Olympics, a Catalyst for Human Rights Abuses

IOC and World Leaders Fail to Challenge Great Leap Backward for Rights in China

Published on HRW, 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 … (full text).

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