Human Rights and the Olympics in China

2008beijingsm.gifThere is some hope that the beijing Olympics in 2008 will be be an impetus for China to demonstrate greater respect for the human rights guaranteed to all under international law. But China has a long way to go. The government actively limits expressions of dissent by all Chinese citizens, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang. China's ruling Communist Party bans opposition political parties and religious organizations independent of government control. Although the government permits a few non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to operate, most other “non-governmental” organizations are actually government-controlled. China prohibits domestic human rights groups and bars entry to international human rights groups. The state continues to engage in Internet surveillance and media censorship. Arbitrary forced evictions are frequent, including in Beijing where construction of Olympics sites is underway.

Human Rights Watch is using the increased interest and attention on China due to the Olympics to shine a global spotlight on violations of key rights there. Their Beijing 2008 site provides information about three key issues: censorship of the media and the Internet; the forced eviction of people from their homes to make way for Olympics-related construction; and the rights of workers to organize independent trade unions. It also include tools you can use to track and understand these key human rights areas in the lead up to 2008.