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Beijing Games 2008 31 July 2008

Call for protests outside Chinese embassies and online during 8 August opening ceremony

As the repression steps up in China in a bid to stop journalists, human rights activists, Tibetans and Uyghurs from speaking out, Reporters Without Borders calls for demonstrations outside China’s embassies in London, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Washington, Brussels, Montreal, Rome and Stockholm on 8 August, while the Olympic Games opening ceremony is taking place in Beijing.

The starting time for the embassy protests is 11:00 GMT on 8 August, one hour before the opening ceremony is due to get under way. A rally is also planned for the same time outside the Olympic Museum in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Reporters Without Borders is also organising a cyber-demonstration on 8 August at this web address: Internet users all over the world will be able to come and protest outside a virtual version of Beijing’s Olympic Stadium, waving a placard with the slogan of their choice.

“Chinese human rights activists, are being detained, harassed or forced to leave Beijing, while their supporters abroad are being prevented from going to China,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is against this backdrop that the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee plan to launch the 2008 Summer Olympics.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We cannot remain indifferent to the fate of the prisoners of conscience. These peaceful demonstrations will offer a response to the cynicism of those who will sit with their arms crossed inside the Beijing stadium on 8 August.”

Around 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents, bloggers and netizens are currently in prison in China, while censorship is still ubiquitous in the press and online. The Chinese government has not kept the promises to improve respect for human rights that it made in 2001, when Beijing was chosen to host the 2008 Olympics.

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