Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Amnesty say Olympics are actually making things worse in China

One hears much guff that engaging the Chinese Government over the Olympic Games. There has been much talk about the possibility that the presence of western media (around 20,000 reporters) might help improve China’s human rights record.

It was not a good sign when British authorities, apparently colluding with Chinese oppression, decided to force UK athletes to sign a gag order, preventing them criticising the Chinese government, before they will allow them to attend the games. Why they felt it necessary to do this when other countries did not remains open to question.

Now it seems this may not necessarily result in an improvement after all. According to Amnesty International it is in fact making things worse.

Clearly the Chinese authorities see the prospect of any dissent as an embarrassment and are ruthlessly pre-emptively suppressing anything, or any one, that has the potential to flair up in front of the western media before they get there in numbers.

One only has to look at how they ejected reporters from Tibet and manipulated reports and figures. down playing the number of Tibetans killed by a factor of 10 or more. Or the vast numbers of troops they have sent into the country to suppress the native population.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Japan's Emperor Akihito and other members of the royal family are unlikely to attend the Beijing Olympics amid concerns here about China's crackdown in Tibet and other issues, a report said Wednesday.

The Japanese government thinks it is not a good time for a rare royal visit because of the unrest in Tibet, a recent health scare over Chinese-made "gyoza" dumplings and a spat over disputed gas fields, the Sankei daily said.

"We were planning not to ask royals to go even before the gyoza incident (surfaced in January). It is all the more true now that the Tibetan unrest occurred," it quoted an unnamed government official as saying.

Japanese authorities have confirmed at least 10 people suffered pesticide poisoning after eating tainted dumplings imported from China.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao invited Emperor Akihito and other royals to the opening ceremony of the August Olympics when he visited Japan last year.

The emperor told Wen then that the government decides on the royal family's foreign trips, a palace spokesman said.

The foreign ministry said no formal decision had been made.

"Nothing has been decided regarding the attendance of dignitaries," a ministry official said.

The last trip to China by members of Japan's imperial household was a landmark visit by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in 1992.

China remains deeply resentful over Japan's brutal occupation from 1931 to 1945, an era in which the Japanese revered Akihito's father Hirohito as a demigod.

The two countries have recently worked to mend ties, which were strained by former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to a war shrine in Tokyo, which Beijing regards as a symbol of Japan's militarist past.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to visit Japan in the coming months.