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


Olympic Watch writes IOC, raises the case of Ye Guozhu

On Human Rights Day, Olympic Watch’s Chairman Jan Ruml wrote a letter to Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), urging him to raise human rights issues with China at every possible occasion. The letter informs Mr. Rogge of the Minimum Standards for Beijing 2008 (which were enclosed as an attachment to the letter) as a joint position of several human rights organizations. Lastly, Mr. Ruml raises the case Ye Guozhu, an evictee activist, whose plight is typical of the kind of human rights abuse in China today, and urges Rogge to inquire about his case during his next meeting with the Beijing 2008 Olympics organizers.

The full text of the letter follows below.

Mr. Jacques Rogge
International Olympic Committee
Château de Vidy
CH-1007 Lausanne

Prague, 10 December 2004

Dear President Rogge,

On the occasion of the Human Rights Day today, I am writing to thank you for your remarks at the closing of the Athens Olympic Games, when you stated that “the position of the IOC is that human rights should be respected in full“. At Olympic Watch, we wish to hope that you continue expressing your concern for human rights in China to the Beijing organisers at every possible meeting.

The ongoing grave situation in China has led human rights organisations to issue Minimum Standards for Beijing 2008. This statement, prepared in conversation with several Chinese democratic exile organisations, is a joint position of Olympic Watch, International Society for Human Rights (IGFM / ISHR), Laogai Research Foundation, and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). We believe that the human rights situation in several areas needs to improve in order for Beijing to be a good host to the Olympic Games. It would certainly be helpful to the Chinese people if the IOC publicly took a clear stance on issues that threaten to compromise the Olympic ideals. Please find the document attached to this letter for your reference and consideration.

Olympic Watch would also like to draw your attention to one particular case that demonstrates the kind of human rights abuse typical of China today and related to the 2008 Olympics. Ye Guozhu has been reportedly imprisoned for merely requesting permission to hold a protest rally on behalf of people evicted from their homes for Beijing’s re-development. His family was allegedly evicted in relation to Olympic construction projects. We respectfully urge you to inquire about Ye Guozhu’s fate in your next meeting with the Beijing organisers and to remind them that people who peacefully exercise their fundamental rights must not be persecuted.

I look forward to your response and wish you all the best in promoting human rights and the Olympic ideals of human dignity and peace.


Jan Ruml
Chairman, Olympic Watch

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