Olympic Games behind the Bars

Press release
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The China Collective Olympic Games 2008 has drawn up a list of human rights violations during the last year. The situation is alarming.

An assessment, made on the basis of the "8 Requirements for Beijing" and the 40 symbolic cases of Chinese prisoners, was addressed to the Chinese authorities in 2007.

Some progress has been made on the human rights front. The application of a new law on capital punishment in 2007 pushed down the number of executions by close to 25%. On 1 January 2008 a new, more protective labour code entered into force. However the Collective has seriously doubted such progress since everything related to capital punishment remains a State secret, and the existence of a new law is not synonymous with systematic application.

During the last few months, the government’s policy has been the consistent repression of citizens who call for greater freedom. Out of 40 cases of Chinese citizens monitored by the Collective, 37 of them will be watching the Olympics behind bars. The cyber-dissident Hu Jia was detained, and then sentenced in April. Ye Guozhou, a victim of expropriation, who was supposed to be released on 26 July 2008, is being held until October. Bishop Jia Zhiguo, who was released last December is now under house arrest again and under tight supervision. Only three people on the list of the Collective were shown clemency: Ching Cheong and Yu Huafeng, both journalists, have been released and Hu Shigen is to be released after the Olympic Games.

On 10 July 2008 Nicolas Sarkozy promised the European Parliament that he would require the Chinese Government to release the prisoners named in a list (notably the list of China Collective Olympic Games 2008) provided by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, European Deputy. The Collective restates its urgent call for the immediate, unconditional release of all these citizens who are still in prison or have "disappeared". It also calls the international public opinion to remain active during the Olympic Games in demanding the release of all political prisoners.


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