South coast paralympian hits out at China's human rights record
Posted: 31 May 2008
Seaford resident and 2000 and 2004 Paralympian Kristina Veasey calls on other sportsmen and women to speak out on behalf of China's citizens
Kristina follows in the footsteps of British basketball legend John Amaechi, who today became an Olympic ambassador for Amnesty International.
John was the first British player to have a career in the elite American basketball league the NBA. He will be in Beijing commentating on basketball for the BBC.
Kristina Veasey, who competed under her former name Kristina Small at the last two Paralympics, said:
'The Olympic Games represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the Chinese authorities' appalling human rights record into sharp focus.
'The Chinese authorities execute more people than any other country and there are severe restrictions on freedom of speech.
'Shi Tao was given a 10-year jail sentence after he sent an email from his yahoo account which was critical of the authorities.
'The bottom line is that people in China cannot speak out without fear of repression, so it is all the more important that others speak out for them.'
John Amaechi added:
'I welcome the opportunity to work with Amnesty International and invite others in the sports community to join me in giving voice to the millions who remain oppressed in China.
'As we celebrate the pride of our Olympians, let us not ignore those who are executed, tortured and silenced as they fight for their freedom of expression and fight against the restrictions placed upon them as individual people by their own government.
'Those with influence must not sit by idly as atrocities are committed by the powerful towards the oppressed.
'Let us join together in giving voice to the people of China until they can speak without reprisal for themselves.'
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, added:
'We hope that John and Kristina's involvement will help encourage fellow sports people, the Olympic authorities and the thousand of press due to descend on the Games to take a closer look at the appalling human rights record of the Chinese authorities.
'It is only through public scrutiny that we can hope to achieve a lasting legacy of human rights for the people of China.'