Chinese stardust and PR disaster

Can’t beat a bit of stardust on a Friday, and well a big thanks to Emily Dugan in The Independent for providing it. She’s tracked down the TV presenter Konnie Huq. The former Blue Peter star is also one of the 80 odd torchbearers when the Olympic flame arrives on these shores next Sunday. And, according to Emily, it appears Konnie’s now got doubts about whether to take part because of China’s appalling human rights record.This after all is a country where 22 people are executed every day, people can be put into re-education through labour camps for four years without a trial, and freedom of expression is severely limited. We have an updated report out next week, so watch this space for more.Now Amnesty International is not calling for a boycott of the Games and we are not planning to disrupt the flame’s progress through London, but if Konnie wants to make a statement she knows where we are…In the same piece there was some welcome news from the Olympic silver medallist Duncan Goodhew, who seems to be following Amnesty’s line. He’s quoted as saying: “We need to encourage the Chinese as seriously as we can to come into the modern world, but I think a boycott would be a futile gesture.”Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities seem hell bent on embarking on a series of public relations’ own goals ahead of the Olympics.Firstly, there was the bus trip for journalists to Tibet to show how wonderful everything is in the Chinese province. Would have worked too, if it hadn’t been for those pesky monks as The Telegraph and The Times among others reported. The Guardian has even got a clip of the monks online, which you can view here.The PR wizards in China Olympic HQ came under further fire from French TV executives after it emerged that they had planned to put a time delay on broadcasts so that they could possibly edit out any unsavoury coverage. Talk about censorship! The Financial Times has the full story here. The European Broadcasting Union is already seeking clarification.And finally, a bizarre story from Easter Island landed on the desks of Amnesty’s press office this morning courtesy of The Independent. A Finnish tourist, Marko Kulju, has been charged after chipping off an ear from one of the Island’s famous statues and is expected to be fined for the offence. However, that’s not good enough for the Island’s mayor Edmunds Payo. He wants an “ear for an ear”. Perhaps, Mr Payo that might be taking justice a tiny step too far…

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