IOC delegation visit Beijing on fact-finding mission

Monday, 19 February 2001

IOC delegation visit Beijing on fact-finding mission for 2008 Olympics but fail to give human rights a sporting chance.
China in Tibet: A Gold Medal for Oppression

Within days of the Bush administration's announcement that it will criticise China's human rights abuses at the forthcoming United Nations Commission for Human Rights, a delegation from the International Olympic Committee will inspect Beijing as part of the city's bid to host the 2008 Olympics Ð but China's occupation of Tibet and human rights will not be on the agenda.

"The International Olympics Committee must give human rights a sporting chance." said Anne Callaghan of Free Tibet Campaign. "How can Committee members ignore the fact that the Chinese government continues to occupy Tibet and detain an eleven year old boy, the 11th Panchen Lama? Awarding Beijing the Olympic Games seems an inappropriate reward for a human rights situation that is getting worse rather than better."

China reacted with vitriol to a UK Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee report which suggested that, given the serious deterioration in human rights over the last 2 years, it would be inappropriate for Beijing to be granted the Games. In an attempt to defuse international concern about human rights, China has launched an internal propaganda offensive around the bid, with Tibetans, including monks from the Jokhang Tempe 'encouraged' to sign a vast petition in support of the Olympics. (People's Daily January 18, 2001). Any overt opposition to official government policy is suppressed and surveillance levels in Tibetan society have reached new levels.

China has promised to clean up Beijing and has carried out a number of steps to make the city look more attractive. "Promises of environmental improvements are commendable, but its human rights abuses that are in more urgent need of cleaning up." said Ms Callaghan.

For more information contact: Anne Callaghan, 020 7833 995, mobile 07796 012533