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The Real China before the Olympics/Teng Biao,Hu jia

The Real China before the Olympics
   Teng Biao Hu Jia
   On July 13th 2001 when Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Olympics, the government promised the world‘to improve human rights records in China’。 In June 2004, Beijing announced its Olympics slogan:“One World, One Dream‘。 Re-created in 1896, the modern Olympic Games have always had the mission to promote human dignity and world peace. Both China and the world expect to see the political progress that the Olympic Games are bringing to the country. So, has Beijing kept its promises? Has China improved its human rights records?

   Perhaps when you come to the Olympic Games in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, spacious streets, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. You see the truth, but not the whole truth, as you see the tip of the iceberg. You may not know that the flowers, smiles, harmony and prosperity are all built on the very basis of grievances, tears, imprisonment, torture and blood. Here is the truth about China that we are going to tell. We believe that for anyone who wishes to avoid any disgraces to the Olympics, to know the truth is the first step to solve the problem.
   Fang Zheng, an excellent athlete who holds two national records in throwing in China‘s Special Sport Games, has been deprived the opportunity to participate the 2008 Paralympics, because he has become a living testimony of the June 4th Massacre since his legs were crushed by a tank on Tian’anmen Square when he was rescuing a fellow student in the morning of June 4th 1989.1 In April 2007 the Ministry of Public Security issued an internal document: to strengthen the political investigation in secret and forbid the participation to the Olympics of 43 kinds of people from 11 different categories including dissidents, human rights defenders, media organizations and religious groups.2 The Chinese police have never made this document known to the Chinese public or the international community.
   Huge investment to the Olympic projects and the black box operation have facilitated serious corruption and widespread bribery. Taxpayers are not allowed to supervise the use of more than 40 billion US dollars of investment. Liu Zhihua, Chief Commander for the Olympic constructions and the former deputy mayor of Beijing has been arrested for massive embezzlement.
   To clear space for the Olympic constructions, thousands of civilian houses were destroyed without proper compensation. Brothers Ye Guozhu and Ye Guoqiang have been imprisoned for their legal appeal after their house was demolished by force. Ye Guozhu has been repeatedly handcuffed and shackled, tied to bed and beaten by electric batons. In the countdown to the Olympic Games, he will still be suffering from torture in Chaobei Prison in Tianjin. It has been reported that over 1.25 million people have been forced to move home because of the Olympic constructions, and the figure is estimated to reach 1.5 million by the end of 2007. Over 400,000 mobile population have been demolished in the absence of formal resettlement scheme. Twenty per cent of the demolished households will fall into poverty or extreme poverty.3 In Qingdao, the Olympic sailing city, hundreds of households have been demolished and many civilians and human rights activists have been put into prison.4 Similar stories repeated in other Olympic cities such as Shenyang, Shanghai and Qinhuangdao.
   In order to establish the image of civilized cities, the government has intensified the interdiction, detention and forced repatriation of petitioners, beggars and the homeless: some of them have been kept in extended detention in the so-called‘shelters’, or even sent directly to the labor camps. Street vendors have been suffering from brutal confiscation by the city patrols. On July 20th 2005, Lin Hongying, a 56-year-old woman farmer and vegetable dealer, was beaten to death by the city patrols in Jiangsu.5 On November 19th 2005, 54-year-old bicycle repairer Wu Shouqing was beaten to death by the city patrols in Wuxi.6 In January 2007 petitioner Duan Huimin was killed by Shanghai police.7 On July 1st 2007, Chen Xiaoming, a Shanghai petitioner and human rights activist, died of un-treated illness during a long-term detention.8 On August 5th 2007, right before the one-year countdown of the Olympics, 200 petitioners were arrested in Beijing.9
   China has been consistently persecuting human rights activists, political dissidents, freelance writers and journalists. The blind activist Chen Guangcheng, named by Time in 2006 one of the most influential 100 people who shape our world and received the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award, is still serving his sentence of four years and three months for exposing the truth of forced abortion and sterilization. The government refused the Braille books and a radio that his relatives and friends brought to the prison. Not long ago the blind man was beaten in Linyi prison in Shandong.10 On August 24th 2007, Chen‘s wife Yuan Weijing was kidnapped by police at the Beijing airport before flying to the Philippines to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award on behalf of his husband.11 On August 13th 2007, activist Yang Chunlin was arrested in Heilongjiang under the name of’suspect of subversion of state power‘for his initiative in the petition’Human Rights before Olympics‘。12 China is still practicing literary inquisition and holding world record for detaining journalists and writers, as many as several hundred since 1989 according to incomplete statistics. Up to this moment, there are still 35 Chinese journalists and 51 writers in prison,13 over 90 per cent of whom were arrested or trialed after Beijing’s successful bid for the Olympics in July 2001. For example, Shi Tao, a journalist and a poet, was sentenced to ten years because of an email sent to an overseas website. Dr Xu Zerong, a scholar from Oxford University, was sentenced to 13 years under the name of‘illegally providing information abroad’for his research on the Korean War. Qingshuijun (Huang Jinqiu), a freelance writer, was sentenced to 12 years for his online publications.14 Some writers and dissidents are prohibited from going abroad, others from returning.15
   In mainland China there are countless websites closed, blogs deleted, sensitive words filtered each year.16 Many websites hosted abroad are blocked. Overseas radio or television programs are highly interfered and strictly prohibited. Although the Chinese government has promised media freedoms for foreign journalists for 22 months during the Olympics until Oct 17th 2008,17 FCCC (Foreign Correspondent Club in China) survey shows that 40% foreign correspondents have experienced harassment, detention or official warning during their news gathering in Beijing and other areas. Some reporters have complained about repeated violent interference from the police during their interviews. Most seriously, the Chinese interviewees usually become vulnerable as a result.18 In June 2006 Fu Xiancai was beaten into paralysis after being interviewed by a German media.19 In March 2007 Zheng Dajing was beaten and arrested after being interviewed by a British TV station.20
   Religious freedom is still under repression. In 2005 a Beijing pastor Cai Zhuohua was sentenced to three years for printing Bibles.21 Zhou Heng, a house church pastor in Xinjiangs, was alleged of‘illegal operation’for receiving dozens of boxes of Bibles.22 From April to June 2007, China expelled over 100 suspected missionaries from the US, South Korea, Canada, Australia and other countries, among whom were language educators who had been teaching English in China for 15 years and humanitarian workers. In this so-called‘Typhoon 5’campaign, the authorities aimed to strike missionary activities during the Olympics.23 On September 30th 2006 the Chinese soldiers opened fire to 71 Tibetans who were escaping to Nepal, which resulted in the death of a 17-year-old nun and severe injury of a 20-year-old man.24 Despite numerous international witnesses on the spot, the Chinese police insisted that their shooting was self-defense. One year after, China tightened its control over the Tibetan Buddhism. A new regulation since September 1st 2007 requires all reincarnated lamas to be approved by the Chinese authorities, which flagrantly interferes the tradition of the reincarnation of the living Buddha that has been practiced in Tibet for hundreds of years.25 Besides, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and the world-renowned pacifist, is still obstructed by the Chinese authorities from returning to Tibet.

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