Olympic Watch: human rights in China and the Beijing 2008 Olympics OLYMPIC WATCHOLYMPIC WATCH



Olympic Watch welcomes Rogge’s statements, calls for freedom for Chinese journalists and for athletes on human rights

Prague, April 10, 2008 – Olympic Watch welcomed the comments made by IOC president Jacques Rogge in Beijing today as “an important step in the right direction” but said more was needed. Rogge called today for the Chinese government to implement in practice freer conditions for international media and said that the for the IOC, “ freedom of expression is something that is absolute.” In its response, Olympic Watch said that IOC also needs to speak out for the freedom of Chinese journalists and affirm explicitly that peaceful promotion of human rights at Olympic venues is in no way in contradiction to the Olympic Charter. Read more >>>


Seven rights groups urge IOC’s Rogge to speak out at last on human rights in China

Prague / Paris / Frankfurt / Brussels / Washington, March 19, 2008 – An international coalition of seven human rights NGOs has sent a strongly-worded open letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge to “speak out now” on behalf of human rights and Olympic ideals and to guarantee athletes’ right to freedom of expression in Beijing. Saying that only “an active, responsible approach by the IOC in defence of human rights can prevent further possible calls for boycott”, the letter comes in the wake of the Chinese crackdown in Tibet. Read more >>>


Olympic Watch to China: Let media in Tibet, release peaceful protesters

Prague, March 14, 2008 – In response to protests rattling Tibetan cities, Olympic Watch has issued a statement calling on the Chinese government to allow international media in Tibet, release all peaceful protesters, and start negotiations with the Tibetan government-in-exile. It also calls on the International Olympic Committee to assume its responsibility and hold the Chinese government accountable for its promises of human rights improvements. Read more >>>


Release “Olympic prisoners” and free Chinese media, Olympic Watch requests

Prague, February 7, 2008 – With six months to go until the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Olympic Watch is calling for an end to human rights abuses in China. Specifically calling for the release of “Olympic prisoners” Hu Jia, Yang Chunlin and Ye Guozhu, it also reminds the International Olympic Committee that full media freedom must be guaranteed in China as promised in 2001. In press freedom, the IOC must not discriminate between foreign and Chinese media, because that would contradict the Olympic ideal of non-discrimination, Olympic Watch says. Read more >>>


Olympic Watch writes National Olympic Committees

Prague, December 10, 2006 - Olympic Watch, an organization campaigning for human rights improvements in China before the 2008 Olympic Games, has sent a letter to national Olympic committees around the world. Sent twenty months before the Games are to start and on the eve of the International Human Rights Day, the letter alerts the national committees about the ongoing human rights violations in China and reminds them of their obligations in defending Olympic ideals. Read more >>>


Two years until Beijing 2008: IOC fails, activists call on athletes, sponsors to act

Prague / Paris / Frankfurt / Washington, August 7, 2006 - Two years before the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are to begin, an international coalition of human rights organizations has issued a joint statement, saying the International Olympic Committee has failed to protect Olympic ideals and calling on national Olympic committees, athletes and sponsors to take action. Citing continuing human rights violations and political propaganda abuse of the Games by the Chinese authoritarian government, they say boycott is one of possible options of protest. Read more >>>


After Torino, focus on Beijing’s human rights record

Prague / Paris / Frankfurt / Washington, February 28, 2006 – An international coalition of human rights organizations, including two groups headed by prominent Chinese exiles, has written a letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee, asking him to “focus on the continuing human rights abuses” in China before Beijing 2008 because they “threaten to damage the Olympic ideals forever.” The IOC, the groups suggest, may need to “reconsider holding the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.” Read more >>>


Ten years since Panchen Lama abducted

On Tuesday, May 17, 2005, ten years exactly will have passed since the Chinese communists abducted a young boy, the eleventh Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. It happened mere three days after he was recognized in accordance with tradition as the incarnate of the tenth Panchen Lama. The boy of six years of age at that time was probably the youngest political prisoner in the world. On May 17 people around the world will commemorate his fate through the Global Vigil for the Panchen Lama. Olympic Watch is calling on its supporters to join the Vigil. Read more >>>


Free Tibet, Save Tibet!

March 10, 2005, marks the 46th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising crushed by the “People’s Liberation Army” of communist China. As every year, Olympic Watch joins the commemoration of March 10 and invites its supporters to attend pro-Tibetan rallies and commemorative events in their area, such as the pan-European rally for Tibet in Berlin (March 12, 2005). Read more >>>


Europe-wide call against lifting China arms embargo

Prague / Amsterdam / Brussels, December 3, 2004 – A broad coalition of pro-democracy and pro-Tibetan NGOs from around Europe has written an open letter to the European Union today, urging it not to lift the arms embargo on China. They point out that the original reason for the embargo, the Tiananmen massacre, continues to be justified by the Beijing government and activists from the pro-democracy movement remain in prison. “An end to the embargo cannot be justified without significant improvement of human rights in China,“ reads the letter signed by twenty-four organizations. They call on the Beijing government to revise their position on the Tiananmen events; release prisoners of conscience; state that it will not use weapons against the people of China, Tibet, and Taiwan; negotiate with the Dalai Lama; adopt international human rights standards; and introduce moratorium on executions. The letter comes five days ahead of the EU-China summit. Read more >>>


Human rights organizations unveil “Minimum Standards for Beijing 2008”

Prague / Frankfurt / Washington, August 29, 2004 – Three human rights organizations have published a set of “minimum standards” that Beijing should meet in order to be a good host for the next Olympic Games. They argue that the situation in China contradicts the ideals of the Olympic Charter. If there is no progress by 2006, Olympic Watch, the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR / IGFM) and the Laogai Research Foundation will “assist the international community in finding alternative solutions”. Specifically, this coalition requests that the PRC ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Beijing government signed six years ago. Other standards cover no use of military power against peaceful democratic action, moratorium on the death penalty, democracy for Hong Kong, talks with the Tibetan government-in-exile and the abolition of slave labor camps where people are sent without a trial. Read more >>>


Chinese, Tibetan exile and Olympic Watch call for moment of silence during Athens closing ceremony

Athens / Prague / Washington, August 26, 2004 – Prominent Chinese pro-democracy groups and Olympic Watch have joined Tibetan rights supporters in calling for a peaceful protest during the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics this Sunday, 29 August. Athletes and spectators are being asked to demonstrate their support for human rights in China and Tibet by remaining silent during China’s presentation and the handover of the Olympic Flag from Athens to Beijing. Olympic Watch, the International Tibet Support Network and the Laogai Research Foundation are among those endorsing the action. Read more >>>


Choices in Beijing: On Vaclav Klaus trip to China

Petr Kutilek, Executive Secretary of Olympic Watch, has published an article in the Prague Post, arguing that Czech President Klaus has the obligation to thoroughly discuss Beijing’s human rights abuses during his trip to China. The piece, titled "Choices in Beijing", refuses the typical cultural relativism approach that Klaus and some other Western politicians adopt when dealing with China. The democratic determination of people in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as of dissidents in the PRC, shows that those Chinese who can or dare to speak their mind freely, understand very well the concepts of human rights and democracy. Read more >>>


Letter to Czech president Klaus before visit to China

Representatives of Olympic Watch and Amnesty International Czech Republic have handed over to the Office of the President a letter, written to Vaclav Klaus by four human rights organizations on the eve of his visit to the People’s Republic of China. In the letter, they appreciate that the Czech president has pledged to discuss the human rights situation in China during his trip, and add specific suggestions for negotiations. Read more >>>


Olympic Watch refuses EU arms sales to China

Prague, March 19, 2004 – Jan Ruml, Chairman of Olympic Watch and Vice-Speaker of the Czech Senate, is sending a letter to foreign ministers of all EU Member States today, urging them not to lift the embargo on arms sales to the People’s Republic of China at the next EU summit. Olympic Watch has also called on its supporters worldwide to join the campaign with their own letters. Read more >>>


Vaclav Havel protests possible execution of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Vaclav Havel, former Czechoslovak and Czech president, has joined the efforts to save the Tibetan political prisoner, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. In February he wrote a letter to the Chinese Foreign Minister, protesting the possible execution and calling for respect to the spiritual heritage of Tibet. Chinese authorities repeatedly refused to accept the letter, and President Havel has therefore decided to publish it. Read more >>>


Remembering Free Tibet

On March 10, 2004, people around the world will commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising that was brutally crushed by the Chinese communist army. The oppression of Tibet is not, unfortunately, just a matter of the past. Beijing continues – and in some areas intensifies – the pressure to subdue the culturally and religiously unique people of Tibet. This year again, Olympic Watch joins the commemorative events. Read more >>>


Czech government accepts call for help to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Prague, December 15, 2003 – Six human rights organizations have called on the Czech government to help the Tibetan political prisoner, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. They did so through a letter that was handed over to Vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Cyril Svoboda by Jan Ruml, Vice-Speaker of the Senate and Chairman of Olympic Watch (Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country) and Lubomir Sklenka, Chairman of the Lungta association, at the Foreign Affairs Ministry today. Read more >>>


Tibet conference speech by Jan Ruml

The speech that Jan Ruml has given at the opening ceremony of the Fourth International Tibet Support Groups Conference is now available here (in Czech). Read more >>>


Jan Ruml to speak at international conference on Tibet

Prague, October 18, 2003 – Jan Ruml, Acting Chairman of the Olympic Watch Committee, will welcome the participants of the international Tibet Support Groups conference in Prague in his capacity as Vice-Speaker of the Czech Senate. The opening ceremony hosts His Holiness the Dalai Lama and former Czechoslovak and Czech president Vaclav Havel as its guests of honor and takes place Sunday morning. Olympic Watch is one of the NGOs that participate in the conference. Read more >>>


Protest against fabricated trials

The Committee for the Summer Olympic Games 2008 in a Free and Democratic Country wishes to lodge a protest about the increasing number of fabricated trials in People’s Republic of China whereby the Chinese authorities abuse the international community’s struggle against terrorism. Read more >>>

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