Nine French and international organisations, grouped in the French Collectif Chine JO 2008, today announced an eight-point campaign to improve human rights in China, which is hosting the Olympic Games in Beijing next year.
Marie Holzman, president of Solidarité Chine, speaking for the Collectif, said the campaign was “peaceful and rational,” in the words of the rebellious students in China in 1989. She noted that China’s leaders had made promises, including one by a member of the Chinese committee seeking to win the Games for Beijing, who said in 2001 that awarding the event to China would “help the growth of human rights.”
Former French justice minister Robert Badinter called on the Chinese government at a press conference in Paris to respect the ideals of peace and justice symbolised by the Games and to exclude all acts of violence, notably suspension of all executions and death sentences.
Political scientist Li Xiaorong said the Games were an excellent opportunity to improve the human rights situation in China. “The record is miserable and repression is increasing all the time, with the Games providing a new excuse for a crackdown,” she said.
Wangpo Bashi, of the Tibet Office, deplored China’s continuing torture of prisoners of conscience.
The Collectif made eight demands:
1. Free everyone who has been in prison since the 1989 Tiananmen protests, as well as all prisoners of conscience.
2. End control of the media, including the Internet.
3. Suspend all executions in China pending abolition of the death penalty.
4. Abolish the practice of administrative detention.
5. End the routine use of torture.
6. Allow free and independent trade unions.
7. Abolish article 306 of the criminal code, which allows lawyers to be arrested or banned from working.
8. End evictions from land and housing.
The Collectif has set up a blog ( http://pekin2008.rsfblog.org ) which presents (in French) its proposals and allows people to sign a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao calling for action. It also plans to approach all French sports federations, as well as athletes and politicians.
It is holding a rally on Sunday 3 June at Trocadéro Square in Paris at 15:30 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square repression of 4 June 1989.
The Collectif includes: Action des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture (ACAT-France), Agir pour les droits de l’Homme (ADH), Amnesty International (AI-France), the Comité de soutien au peuple tibétain CSPT), Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH), Reporters Without Borders and Solidarité Chine.