Olympic Watch: human rights in China and the Beijing 2008 Olympics OLYMPIC WATCHOLYMPIC WATCH


Adopt China’s prisoners of conscience - Olympic Watch to athletes and leaders

Prague - August 1, 2008 - One week before the start of the Beijing Olympics, Olympic athletes, officials and public leaders from participating countries are being asked to adopt Chinese human rights defenders persecuted by the Chinese government. As a follow-up to yesterday’s appeal signed by Czech ex-president Vaclav Havel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu and Chinese exile activist Wei Jingsheng, Olympic Watch has launched its Adopt2008.org campaign.

The campaigners are asking national Olympic teams to each adopt a Chinese prisoner of conscience or human rights defender and find an appropriate way to express their support. Among suggested actions are inquiring about the case, visiting the persecuted person in prison, and public dedication of Olympic medals.

The cases initially presented include:
- Shi Tao, recommended to the US Olympic team
- Hu Jia, recommended to the French Olympic team
- Gao Zhisheng, recommended to the British Olympic team
- Ding Zilin, recommended to the German Olympic team
- Bu Dongwei, recommended to the Canadian Olympic team
- Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, recommended to the Czech Olympic team

The campaign will continue to present additional cases up until the beginning of the Games on August 8.

Olympic Watch is a human rights organization set up in Prague in 2001 in response to the decision to grant the 2008 Olympics to Beijing. It has campaigned to help keep the Chinese government accountable for the public pledges its officials made in 2001 regarding human rights improvements, including "complete media freedom".

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