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



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 >>>


Will Europe sell its soul to Beijing?

Jan Ruml, the Chairman, and Petr Kutilek, the Executive Secretary of Olympic Watch, have published an article in Hospodarske Noviny (most respected Czech daily) today, arguing for Europe to maintain its embargo on arms exports to the PRC. They claim that the ongoing human rights violations in China, the lack of change in Beijing’s dealing with the Tiananmen massacre, and the growing military threats towards the democracy in Taiwan require a continued principled position of the EU. 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 >>>


IOC asked to take a stand on Athens Olympics censorship

Prague / Frankfurt, August 10, 2004 – Two human rights organizations are calling on the International Olympic Committee to take a stand on an “attack on the freedom of speech” at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Olympic Watch and International Society for Human Rights (ISHR/IGFM) are “extremely concerned to hear that posters and other material promoting … Taiwan are being blocked from display at Athens International Airport and elsewhere in the city”. The news of posters being taken down and billboards being blocked has been reported by major international media over the past few days. 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 >>>


Olympic Watch Chairman on Vera radar sales to China

Jan Ruml, Vice-Speaker of the Czech Senate and Chairman of Olympic Watch, has published an article in the biggest Czech newspaper, MF Dnes, in which he protests against the imminent sales of the Vera advanced radar system to the PRC. The deal has been licensed by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade. Ruml notes the security risks related (Vera may make it easier for Beijing to attack Taiwan; Chinese communists may further develop Vera without any checks) and the fact that the sales contradict the policies of Czech allies in NATO and EU. He also denounces the sales vis-à-vis the human rights situation in PRC and Beijing’s contacts to other totalitarian regimes. 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 >>>


New Year wishes from Olympic Watch

Jan Ruml, Chairman of Olympic Watch, has recorded the following Lunar New Year greeting for the global Chinese television station, NTDTV. Read more >>>


Support for Taiwan to receive observer status at WHO

Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in a Free and Democratic Country supports granting Taiwan observer status at the World Health Organization. Read more >>>

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