Four Reporters Without Borders representatives held an unauthorised news conference today in Beijing outside the building that houses the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG). Wearing T-shirts showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs, they called on the Chinese authorities to free the approximately 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents and free speech activists currently imprisoned in China.
“You cannot hold such a big sports event as the Olympic Games in the shadow of Chinese prisons,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said. “The authorities have kidnapped these games. The official slogan, ‘One world, one dream,’ sounds more and more hollow. This is not about spoiling the party, quite the contrary. But Beijing has not kept its promises to improve the human rights situation and yet continues cynically to refer to the Olympic spirit.”
Fernando Castello, Reporters Without Borders’ Spanish president, and Rubina Möhring, its Austrian vice-president, urged International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge to take action. “The IOC’s president now has a year to obtain what he has not yet even requested - the release of the imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents, an end to Internet censorship, and the ability for foreign correspondents to move about China freely,” Castello said.
“The Chinese authorities have conned everyone, including us when we came to China last January,” Möhring added. “They made us promises which they never kept.”
Vincent Brossel, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia desk, also took part in the news conference.
At the end of the news conference, police stopped and questioned foreign journalists, including TV reporters.
For more information (in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese) about the Reporters Without Borders “Beijing 2008" campaign, go to the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf.org).
Press report Beijing