Bum note / bad deal  

This blog is from our very own Bibi, who asked me to post it, so...


...another week in the media, and another week with China under the international spotlight in the lead-up to the Games.

Now China has reportedly increased its military spending. This has sparking concerns from the international community. Of particular concern to us is the continuing crisis in Darfur and the lucrative arms trade between China and Sudan, detailed in an Amnesty report last year. Atrocities being carried out on civilians include the aerial bombardment of villages across the region, leading to the displacement of thousands.

meanwhile, media (un)freedom and censorship remain highly contentious in China. Amnesty has continued to campaign for an end to internet repression and the crackdown on a journalists (and others') rights to freedom of expression. Now it seems that people are beginning to wake up to the dangers in China.

In an act of mass solidarity, the World Association of Newspapers has called on editors and publishers to print a full page advertisement with the number of journalists and cyber dissidents being detained by the Chinese government.

The excellent Birmingham Post has running the ad in its weekly supplement, and publications in Yemen and Poland have followed suit. The Paris-based WAN group which promotes business and free speech interests of newspapers is also organising a conference next month on how the worlds press should react to the suppression of journalists in China. Here at Amnesty we are also holding a briefing for journalists in the run-up to the games. Watch this space

Speaking of solidarity, and hot on the heels of Spielbergs resignation as artistic director of the Olympics over the crisis in Darfur (see earlier blog), Bjork has added her (distinctive) voice to the chorus of celebs and high-profilers voicing concerns over human rights in China.

The singer/actor is supposed to have upset some fans at her concert in Shanghai after shouting Tibet, Tibet! at the end her song 'Declare Independence'. According to the (appropriately named) Independent though, few noticed and needless to say Bjorks outburst was not reported in the official media but circulated on the web. In the spirit of all things independent, the singer apparently also dedicated the song to Kosovo whilst in Japan.

Nothing terrible has happened to Bjork (other than one or two dodgy LPs she's issued down the years, though that's another story), but then again she's not an ordinary Chinese person. The long road to Chinese media freedom is still ... a long road.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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