China Olympics: Brown silence on China human rights must end, says Amnesty

Gordon Brown must stop ducking the issue of China’s human rights record and give a clear, public statement that repression in China and Tibet are unacceptable, said Amnesty International today.

An Amnesty report released last week revealed a human rights situation in China that is getting worse, not better, in the run-up to the Olympics. The organisation is calling on Gordon Brown and other world leaders to speak out publicly about human rights in China. Amnesty is also urging the International Olympics Committee to put pressure on the Chinese authorities to make urgent reforms.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“Gordon Brown should stop ducking the issue of China’s human rights record and make a clear, public statement condemning abuses in the country.

“Last weekend’s protests in London were a clear display of public feeling on this issue. It’s sad that while ordinary people braved foul weather to stand up for the rights of Chinese and Tibetan people, our Prime Minister has remained silent.

“Momentum is gathering around the world, both from politicians and people on the streets – we do not want an Olympics tainted by repression.

“The Olympics could still leave a positive legacy for Chinese people but only if the authorities feel the full weight of global pressure for reform. Gordon Brown should show the courage and leadership to condemn human rights abuse in China.”

Amnesty is calling on the Chinese authorities immediately to end repressive measures against Chinese human rights activists in Beijing and other parts of China, as well as against protesters in Tibet and surrounding regions. In and around Beijing, the Chinese authorities have silenced and imprisoned peaceful human rights activists in the pre-Olympics ‘clean up’. Promises of ‘media freedom’ have not been honoured, with reporters denied free access to Tibet and other areas where protests have occurred.

The pre-Olympics ‘clean-up’ has also resulted in the detention of thousands of petitioners in Beijing with many being sent back to their home provinces. Some petitioners have also been assigned to ‘Re-education through labour’ – an abusive system of detention without trial which has been stalled on China’s reform agenda for many years.

Amnesty International is calling on the Chinese authorities to:
- give immediate access to Tibet and surrounding areas to UN investigators and other independent observers;
- cease arbitrary detention, intimidation and harassment of activists;
- end punitive administrative detention;
- allow full and free reporting across the whole of China for all journalists;
- free all prisoners of conscience;
- reduce the number of capital crimes as a step towards abolition.

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