U.S. lawmakers, organizations advocating for human rights and religious
freedom, and China democracy activists have sharply criticized the Chinese
government in advance of the Beijing Olympic Games opening in August 8. VOA's
Dan Robinson reports on this, and a congressional resolution urging President
Bush to raise human rights issues when he attends the Olympic
Felice Gaer, who heads the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom, and other commission members detailed a range of violations
of human rights and religious freedom by the Chinese government.
commission statement points to repressive measures Beijing is using to maintain
social harmony during the Olympics, and says authorities may step up repression
when the games end.
Gaer says President
Bush needs to speak strongly during his visit to Beijing about human
"The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has asked
President Bush to speak publicly during his trip, during his trip, about the
pressing need for China to guarantee universal human rights and freedom of
thought, conscience religion and belief and to uphold the rule of law in China,"
said Felice Gaer.
Members of Congress have expressed concern about
restrictions on the Internet and travel imposed by the Chinese government on
journalists wishing to report on and from other areas of the
Commission member Nina Shea expresses hope that Olympic coverage
by the U.S. NBC television network will attempt to provide a broader view of
conditions in China during the games:
"I would urge NBC to use a wide
angle lens, not a zoom lens, on these Olympics," said Nina Shea. "It may be the
one television outlet that really could get a broader picture of the context of
Among China democracy
activists appearing at the news conference was Harry Wu:
"Do you know
[that] China today has an Internet police department," said Harry Wu. "They have
about 200,000 to 300,000 policemen [whose] only job [is] Internet. Every
individual or Internet café [is] controlled."
Wu, and former dissident
Yiang Janli were among a group of five who meet with President Bush this week, a
meeting welcomed by human rights groups.
"The issues of human rights and
religious freedom in China are not Olympic issues, nor Tibetan issues, nor
Christian issues, nor Uighur issues, nor Falun Gong issues, nor are they
strictly internal issues as the Chinese government would have you believe," said
Yiang Janli. "These issues transcend the Olympic games and territorial borders.
These issues are connected to the fundamental matter of freedom and
democratization which are inseparable from the strategic interests of the United
Also meeting President Bush at the White House was prominent
activist Wei Jingsheng:
"Yesterday we were in the White House and I told
President Bush that he had made a huge mistake to go to [the] Olympics in
Beijing this time," said Wei Jingsheng. "This is not a mistake just made
recently, it was made several months ago."
Todd Stein, of the
International Campaign for Tibet, says those covering the Olympics should keep
in mind that the Chinese government has restricted access to much of the
country, including Tibet.
"As the president heads off to celebrate the
opening ceremonies, one fourth of the territory of the PRC remains locked off to
the international community," said Todd Stein. "Tibet has been closed off since
March, and inside, the cultural revolution is alive and well."
nearly unanimous 419 to 1 vote, the House of Representatives (Wednesday)
approved a resolution urging President Bush to make human rights a priority
during his Beijing visit.
It also calls on the Chinese government to
immediately end abuses of the human rights, including repression of Tibetan and
Uighur people, and to end support its military and economic support for the
Governments of Sudan and Burma.