Reporters Without Borders staged events around the world to denounce the appalling human rights situation in China as the organisers of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee today gathered in Tiananmen Square in a ceremony exactly one year ahead of the opening of the games.
In Paris, a 100-square-metre flag showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs was unfurled today by Reporters Without Borders activists along one of the bridges over the Seine. This graphic, together with the words “Beijing 2008,” was also displayed on an advertising truck and bicycles* that circulated the city all day. And the organisation’s activists distributed thousands of postcards with the graphic to Parisians and tourists attending the “Paris Beach” events along the Seine.
At the same time, a total of 30,000 posters (60 cm x 80 cm) with the same handcuffs image have been put up all over France.
In New York, bicycles displaying the “Beijing 2008" handcuffs graphic rode through the streets of Manhattan, and leaflets about the human rights situation in China were distributed to passers-by.
In Beijing, on 6 August, four Reporters Without Borders representatives including its president, Fernando Castello, its vice-president, Rubina Möhring, and its secretary-general, Robert Ménard, gave a news conference yesterday outside the building that houses the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG).
In Montreal, Reporters Without Borders took part with Amnesty International in a news conference yesterday at the Olympic stadium that hosted the 1976 games.
The press freedom organisation also offered leading daily newspapers an op-ed piece on the poor situation of press freedom in China. It is being published by newspapers in Austria (Der Standard), Belgium (Le Soir), Brazil (O Globo), Canada (National post, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun), France (Libération), Great Britain (The Independent) and Spain (El Mundo).
T-shirts with the “Beijing 2008" handcuffs image can be bought on the Internet at the Fruit of the Boom website (www.fruitoftheboom.com).
Reporters Without Borders is calling for the release of the approximately 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents and free speech activists currently held in China, and an end to censorship of the news media and Internet. At least 12 websites were closed or blocked in July alone.
The graphic is available in a high-definition version (EPS, 300 DPI, CMJN) in six languages from the Media Downloads section of the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf.org). Web banners are also available in various formats in French, English and Spanish.
* Thanks to the help of Chac’n Chak, a company that was our partner in this operation.