Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
2008 Beijing Games 13 August 2008

Crackdown continues for Chinese human rights activists, with no Olympic truce during games/ 中国维权人士在奥运会期间仍不得安宁:奥运如期举行,镇压依旧如故

The start of the Olympic Games has done nothing to help Chinese human rights activists, who continue to be arrested, watched or threatened. At the same time, incidents involving foreign journalists, including an attack today on a British TV reporter working for ITV, shows that the security services are still preventing the foreign press from working freely.

To illustrate this, Reporters Without Borders today offers the comments of a foreign reporter about surveillance and harassment by the Chinese police.

"In view of the many incidents, we call on the International Olympic Committee to intercede on behalf of the Chinese citizens who are in danger because of the position they have taken during the Olympic Games," Reporters Without Borders said.

"It is the duty of the Olympic movement in its entirety to ensure respect for the spirit of the Olympic truce," the organisation added. "Since the origins of the Olympics, tradition has required that peace should prevail during the games."

The IOC website has this to say about the Olympic truce in ancient Greece: "During the truce period, the athletes, artists and their families, as well as ordinary pilgrims, could travel in total safety to participate in or attend the Olympic Games and return afterwards to their respective countries. (...) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to revive the ancient concept of the Olympic Truce with the view (...) to encourage searching for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world."

John Ray of the British television news service ITN was today covering a protest by several foreign activists who unfurled a pro-Tibet banner near Beijing’s main Olympic zone, when he was arrested by police, dragged along the ground and forcibly restrained for about 20 minutes although he identified himself as a journalist. "This was an assault in my mind, I am incredibly angry about this," Ray told Agence France Presse.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) says there have been five incidents since 7 August. In one of these incidents, police arrested two Associated Press reporters in the northwestern province of Xinjiang and erased the photos they had taken. One of them was arrested while watching the opening ceremony on TV. Two Scandinavian journalists were prevented from interviewing peasants in Hebei province about the impact of the games on their activities.

A European journalist who has been working in Beijing for several years has given Reporters Without Borders a gripping description of what it is like for her and her colleagues in Beijing, and the risks run by Chinese who dare to speak to the foreign press.

"They don’t stop following me, filming me and photographing me," she said. "I think twice before interviewing Chinese about sensitive issues for fear that they could be arrested (...) Last week several Chinese were arrested after giving me interviews. Firstly, people living in the Qianmen district that is in the process of being renovated. They included a woman in charge of an association of evicted residents who sued the government for not paying them enough compensation. The trial began in July but was postponed because of the Olympics. I interviewed her, as other journalists did. Since then she has been detained.

"The same thing happened with the pastor of an unrecognised church. Finally, a British woman of Tibetan origin was arrested and expelled after giving me an interview. Under these circumstances, we are all forced to censor ourselves and to refuse to interview certain Chinese for fear of their being immediately arrested. We are all in this situation of intimidation, which makes it very hard for us to work in China, despite the overall improvements.

"What’s more, the official media have not stopped attacking us since last March’s events in Tibet. In addition to the death threats received by dozens of foreign journalists, the Chinese media try to undermine our credibility. And all of this gained pace in the run-up to the games."

She is right about Chinese being arrested for talking to the foreign media. Zhang Wei, a former resident of the Beijing district of Qianmen, was arrested on 9 August after filing a request for permission to protest about her family’s eviction two years ago to make way for Olympic construction. The Associated Press quotes her son as saying she is to be held for a month for "disrupting the social order." The Public Security Bureau said it was looking at her case and had no other comment to make.

Yang Guijing, 75, the mother of a young man who demonstrated in one of the Beijing parks that have been officially designated as protest areas, was arrested on 7 August as she on her way to visit her daughter, and has been held ever since. She did not take part in her son’s demonstration, which was in protest the family’s eviction.

Other Chinese are being hounded by the authorities, who fear they could protest during the games. There has been no news since 7 August of Zeng Jinyan, the wife of imprisoned activist Hu Jia, and their seven-month-old daughter. Her mother in law said to several Chinese-language news outlets say she may has been forced her to leave the capital. She had been under permanent police surveillance for several years in the "Freedom" residential area where she lives.

Some Beijing intellectuals such as Liu Xiaobo and Yu Jie have not been detained, but are under police surveillance. Wan Yanhai, the head of an NGO that cares for AIDS sufferers, chose to leave Beijing during the games to avoid being harassed by the police.

Hua Huiqi, the head of an unrecognised protestant church, was arrested in Beijing on 9 August while on his way to a church service that was attended by US President George W. Bush. His brother - arrested at the same time but freed a few hours later - says he has had no news of Hua since then. The police deny ever arresting Hua and claim they had no role in his disappearance. Human Rights in China meanwhile says it got a short letter in which Hua apparently recounts his arrest and subsequent escape.

Ji Sizun, a human rights activist form Fujian province, was arrested on 11 August for filing a request several days earlier for permission to demonstrate in one for the areas designated by the Beijing authorities for protests. Human Rights Watch says Ji wanted to organise a rally to protest against corruption and to call for more citizen participation in government decisions.

According to HRW, several other Chinese have been arrested or threatened for filing demonstration requests. They include relatives of children killed in the collapse of "tofu" (shoddily-built) schools in the May earthquake in Sichuan. The Washington Post reports that families were prevent from boarding flights in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu.

Several members of the outlawed China Democracy Party were arrested in the days preceding the games opening ceremony. According to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, Xie Changfa of Hunan province was arrested on 2 August, while Wang Rongqing, 65, of Zhejiang province was arrested on 31 July. They have been charged with inciting subversion of state authority.

奥运比赛已经开始,可是中国维权人士的境遇并没有得到改善,依旧遭逮捕、监视、威胁。另外,以8月13日对英国ITN电视台记者施以暴力为代表的几起和外国记者冲突的事件表明,允许外国记者自由工作的诺言不过是一纸空文。为了更清楚地说明问题,无国界记者用匿名方式发表一名在华工作外国记者的见闻,据这名记者称,中国警方对他们的行动加以监视并对他们施加巨大压力。

无国界记者称,“在几起意外事件发生的情况下,我们要求国际奥委会的介入,以保护那些由于政治观点而身处危险的中国公民。自从奥运会诞生以来,比赛期间暂停一切敌对活动,整个奥林匹克运动要让“奥运停战”的精神在中国继续存在。”

在国际奥委会的网站上也写着这样的话:“奥运会期间,运动员、演员及其家属和观众都可以在安全的情况下前往比赛现场参加或观看比赛,并在赛后安全返回各自的家园(......)国际奥委会决定让这一传统得以继续(......)以便世界各地的冲突能够以外交手段和平解决。”

2008年8月13日,英国电视台记者John Ray在北京报到几名亲藏独运动成员手持旗帜在奥运会场地附近游行时,遭警察传唤并被逮捕。传唤过程中,John Ray被按倒在地并被强行保持此姿势二十分钟,而当时John Ray已经表明自己的记者身份。John Ray接受AFP采访时说,“我很恼火,对我来说,这就是暴力袭击。”

据外国驻华记者俱乐部称,自从8月7日起,已经有五起类似事件发生。两名媒体协会记者在新疆遭警察传唤,警察将他们相机中的图像销毁,其中一名记者在观看奥运会开幕式时遭逮捕。两名斯堪的纳维亚记者就奥运会对河北省影响的问题采访该省农民时遭到阻拦。

一名已经在北京工作几年的欧洲记者向无国界记者说的一番话令人震撼,他谈到敢于接受外国媒体采访的中国人可能会遭逮捕,“他们(官方)跟着我,给我拍照、录像。对于敏感问题,在采访中国人之前我都非常迟疑,因为我担心他们会因此被捕......上星期,几名接受我采访的中国人就被捕了。被捕的人中有正在改造的前门街区的原居民,其中一位搬迁协会的女负责人就补偿金过低的问题把政府告上法庭。庭审应该在七月进行,不过由于奥运会的缘故延期开庭。我采访了她和她的同事,可随后他们就被逮捕了。一名非官方教堂的神父也遭到了同样的厄运。一名原籍西藏的英国人在接受了我的采访以后被逮捕而后被驱逐出境。在这种情况下,我们不得不对自己写的报道倍加小心,不采访某些中国人,以免他们被捕。尽管总体情况有改善,但是,我们在中国的工作仍十分困难。而且,官方媒体自三月份西藏暴乱以来不停地对我们实施攻击,十几名外国记者收到死亡恐吓,中国媒体竭尽所能让我们丧失信用。这一切在奥运会临近的情况下才愈演愈烈。”

几名中国公民在接受外国媒体采访后遭逮捕,张伟就是其中之一。她是北京前门的原住户,8月9日,因反对驱逐她的家人而在递交一份要求游行的申请书后被捕。据媒体协会和张伟之子称,两年前,在奥运会工程进行时,政府以“扰乱社会秩序”为名将张伟关押了一个月。公安局宣称对张伟一案进行调查,并没有发表任何评论。

政府防止另外一些中国公民在奥运会期间示威游行,对他们加以骚扰。被捕的异见人士胡佳之妻曾金燕和他们七个月的的女儿自8月7日以来就没有向外界发出任何消息。胡佳之母向几家中国媒体称她的儿媳已被迫离开北京。她们几年来一直生活在长期受警察监视的北京“自由”住所中。刘晓波、徐洁等一些北京学者虽然未遭拘捕,但却要在监视下生活。为艾滋病患者创办的一民间组织主席王延海预防遭报复,在奥运会期间离开北京。

未被承认的一基督新教教堂负责人华会其在8月9日在北京前往参加一由布什出席的弥撒时被警方拘捕。他的弟弟华会林也遭逮捕,几小时后被释放,但没有华会起的消息。警方否认拘捕华会其,推卸华失踪的责任。中国人权组织称他们收到了华会其的一封短信,讲述了他被捕、逃脱的经过。

原籍福建一维权人士姬司尊几天前提交了一份在政府指定区域游行的申请,却在8月11日遭逮捕。就人权观察组织称,姬司尊希望组织中国公民集会,指责贪污现象,要求公民监察。据维权组织称,几名中国公民在递交游行申请后遭传唤或威胁。在四川地震中几名“豆腐渣”工程学校遇难学生家长也有类似遭遇,据《华盛顿邮报》称,官方禁止这些家长乘飞机离开成都。

在奥运会开幕式前几天,几名中国民主党成员(被禁止)被捕。据中国维权人士组织称,湖南省谢长发在8月2日被捕,浙江省65岁的王荣庆在7月31日被拘留。他们将以煽动颠覆国家政权罪被起诉。




In this country
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
12 May - China
Foreign reporters prevented from working in Sichuan a year after earthquake
24 April - China
Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured
25 March - China
Government blocks access to YouTube

in the annual report
China - Annual report 2008
China - Annual report 2007
China - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed