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


Chinese, Tibetan exile and Olympic Watch call for moment of silence during Athens closing ceremony

Athens / Prague / Washington, August 26, 2004 – Prominent Chinese pro-democracy groups and Olympic Watch have joined Tibetan rights supporters in calling for a peaceful protest during the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics this Sunday, 29 August. Athletes and spectators are being asked to demonstrate their support for human rights in China and Tibet by remaining silent during China’s presentation and the handover of the Olympic Flag from Athens to Beijing. Olympic Watch, the International Tibet Support Network and the Laogai Research Foundation are among those endorsing the action.

“The Beijing government needs to give all ordinary Chinese, Tibetan, and Uyghur people the human dignity they deserve and request,” said Jan Ruml, Chairman of Olympic Watch. “So far, the Beijing regime continues to be one of the worst violators of human rights in the world. It threatens to invade the democratic Taiwan. Under such conditions, holding the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing would seriously compromise the Olympic ideals of ‘human dignity’ and ‘peace’. We call on all good Olympians to remember the victims of oppression by holding a moment of silence when Beijing receives the Olympic flag this Sunday.”

“The people of China certainly deserve the Olympic Games. Regrettably, the Chinese government does not,” said Harry Wu, Executive Director of the Laogai Research Foundation. “It is very important that the world knows that there is a growing coalition of far-sighted Chinese and Tibetans who want to work together for a peaceful future. More important than constructing fancy stadiums in record time is to build a free society and to end repression.”

“I want to have the Olympics in Beijing, but before this can happen the Chinese government has to considerably improve the human rights situation, release democrats and stop executions”, said Peng Xiaoming, Chair of the Association of Chinese Students and Scientists in Germany. “The torch is a symbol for the Chinese to improve their human rights situation - only then, the Olympics can truly take place in Beijing.”

This Sunday morning, Olympic Watch will be publishing through its website a set of minimum standards that Beijing should meet in order to be a good host for the next Olympic Games.

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