China Olympics: Edinburgh protestor's arrest should highlight wider suppression

Responding to reports that an Edinburgh man has been detained by the Chinese authorities after taking part in a protest near the main Olympics stadium in Beijing, Amnesty International's Scottish Programme Director John Watson said:

"This case illustrates the clampdown on freedom of expression that has happened all over China. For example, throughout the Olympics and also at the Edinburgh Festival, Amnesty is highlighting the case of Chinese human rights campaigner Hu Jia who has been jailed for three and a half years just for criticising China's human rights record. Tibetans must be able to enjoy fully their human rights, including their rights to freedom of religious belief, expression and association, and non-discrimination. Instead, repression is still occurring in Tibet and there has been no investigation into reports that demonstrators were shot or tortured in custody after the protests there in March. The bottom line is that people must be allowed to peacefully express their opinion on human rights in China both during and after the Olympics.”

Last week Amnesty International published a new report showing that the Chinese authorities have broken their promise to improve China’s human rights situation as part of staging the Olympics.

Amnesty International’s report “The Olympics Countdown: Broken Promises ”, evaluated the performance of the Chinese authorities in four areas related to the core values of the Olympics: persecution of human rights activists, detention without trial, censorship and the death penalty.

It concluded that in most of these areas human rights have continued to deteriorate in the run-up to the Olympics. In preparation for the Games the Chinese authorities have locked up, put under house arrest, or forcibly removed those they see as threatening China’s supposed image of “stability” and “harmony”.

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