Spielberg China boycott: Amnesty briefing on human rights violations from China-Sudan Arms

Amnesty International today reacted to the decision made by film director Steven Spielberg to cease his involvement in the Beijing Olympics.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“Like any company or individual operating in China, it is right for Steven Spielberg to examine whether this makes him complicit in human rights violations – in China itself or in countries like Sudan.

“How Steven Spielberg expresses his views is his own decision – Amnesty isn’t calling for a boycott of the Beijing Games, others are. What’s important is that everyone involved in the Olympics goes to China with their eyes open: basic human rights like free speech and fair trials are routinely denied in the country, and China has sold weapons to Sudan that have been used to commit crimes against humanity.”

China has traded arms and invested in oil resources in Sudan without sufficient consideration for the human rights of the population. In many ways, China’s economic relations with Sudan have been detrimental to the human rights situation of the country. There is strong evidence that arms exported from China are fuelling the conflict in Darfur, which is now spreading to neighbouring Chad.

China’s economic profits should not be built on the killings and displacement of the people of Sudan. Amnesty International calls on the Chinese government to stop selling weapons to Sudan which are being used to commit human rights violations in Darfur.

Vast parts of Sudan have been devastated by conflict and massive human rights violations, particularly the country’s western region of Darfur where brutal conflict has unfolded primarily between the government-backed militia known as the Janjawid, and rebel groups.

Grave crimes against humanity, war crimes and atrocious violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights has occurred throughout the conflict in Darfur. Since the start of the conflict in 2003, more than 200,000 people have died, hundreds of thousands of others have been maimed or tortured and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls have suffered extreme sexual violence. In addition, more than two million people have been forced to flee their homes.

In 2007 Amnesty International released a report which revealed that weapons and military equipment from China were being used to fuel the conflict in Darfur.

According to 2005 data, Sudan imported $24 million worth of arms and ammunition from China, as well as nearly $57 million worth of parts and aircraft equipment and $2 million worth of parts of helicopters and aeroplanes.

Arms deliveries from China to Sudan
Arms deliveries from China to Sudan since the 1990s have included ammunition, tanks, helicopters and fighter aircraft.

The Sudanese government and militias it has supported have used such types of weapons to commit massive violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in armed conflicts in southern Sudan and Darfur. Such violations have included direct and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian settlements, which have caused deaths and mass forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

Planes and helicopters have been used to launch aerial bombings on villages; for reconnaissance before attacks; and to support ground troops in the armed conflict in southern Sudan until 2002 and in the conflict in Darfur from 2003 up to now. Planes and helicopters have also been used to transfer troops and arms to areas of conflict.

China’s human rights record at home
Amnesty International is calling on the Chinese government to fulfill its promise to develop human rights as part of the Olympic legacy. The organisation has identified four key areas of concern that must be addressed in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.

Death Penalty
The Chinese authorities should significantly reduce the use of the death penalty in China as a step towards abolition. By the end of 2008, measures should include the regular publication of official statistics on the total number of death sentences and executions and reducing the number of capital offences with substantial reforms in regard to non-violent crimes.

Justice and detention
The Chinese authorities should ensure that all forms of detention in China are in accordance with international human rights law, including measures to uphold the rights to fair trial and to prevent torture. By the end of 2008, this should include abolishing Re-education Through Labour, Enforced Drug Rehabilitation and Custody and Education, and ensuring that these systems are not used in relation to the hosting of the Beijing Olympics as a method of ‘cleaning-up’ the city in the build-up to and during the Games.

Persecution of people who stand up for human rights
The Chinese authorities should ensure that human rights defenders are free to carry out their peaceful activities. This should include:
- ensuring that human rights defenders are not subjected to house arrest; are able tocommunicate with foreign journalists without penalty or harassment; and are able to highlight legitimate issues of concern without penalty or harassment;
- releasing human rights defenders who are currently detained as prisoners of conscience.

Freedom of expression
The Chinese authorities should end the unwarranted censorship of the Internet in China and ensure that journalists’ rights to freedom of expression are not abused

Amnesty International is campaigning for the Beijing Olympics to leave a lasting legacy of improvements in human rights for China. More information about the campaign can be found at: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/china

Journalists writing about China and the Olympics can download a Media Kit detailing key human rights concerns at:
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=10925 br />

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