Media Focus on CCP's Information Blockade before Beijing Olympics
(Clearwisdom.net) In recent days, Canadian mainstream media including National Post, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, The Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen and CBC carried reports on China's internet blockade before the Olympics and China's human rights infringement.
CCP Blocks Internet, Criticized by Human Rights Organizations and Media
Toronto Star carried a report on July 30 titled "IOC gave nod to website censorship". The report stated, "The International Olympic Committee and the Beijing Games plunged deeper into controversy yesterday after a senior IOC official was forced to admit the IOC had cut a deal with Chinese authorities to allow them to block access to a wide range of websites during the Games.
"The admission stunned free speech advocates in Asia, Europe and North America, triggering accusations that the IOC was "spineless" and had caved in to dictates from the Games' authoritarian hosts. Only two weeks ago IOC president Jacques Rogge said in an interview, "There will be no censorship on the Internet," during the Games.
"But yesterday an embarrassed IOC press chair Kevan Gosper acknowledged he had learned through a Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee press conference that the Chinese would censor the Internet and - on further inquiry - he discovered his own organization was complicit in the plan.
""Sensitive" websites - and stories - relating to the Falun Gong spiritual movement, the movement for an independent Tibet, and virtually all human rights, free speech and pro-democracy groups are expected to be primary targets.
"The IOC will definitely lose face over this," Vincent Brossel of Reporters Without Borders said in a telephone interview from Paris. "It's just one more example that shows how the Chinese government's commitment in 2001 to allow free media was just a weak promise and in some ways, they had no real intention to provide normal working conditions for journalists covering the Games."
"In New York, Bob Dietz, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, was astonished. "China and the IOC promised that this would not happen," he said. "If journalists' access to the Internet is restricted in any way, it's a failure of both parties to meet the promises they made to the world. I don't think the IOC knew who they were getting into bed with," he added.
"In Hong Kong, Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch said, "This proves the IOC is spineless." He told the South China Morning Post that such censorship shows "the paranoia of the Chinese government overrules the accepted systems used by the international community. This has tarnished the Olympic movement severely," he said.
"The websites of all three organizations: Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch, are banned and blocked in China - as is that of Amnesty International, which issued a scathing attack on China this week, accusing the government of using the Games as a pretext to crack down even harder on perceived threats to stability."
Large Scale Persecution Started Before China's Bid for Hosting the Olympics
Eight days before Olympics, the CCP broke the IOC's promise two weeks ago and blocked "sensitive" websites. The CCP increased media inspection and control, and escalated imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners and dissidents without legal procedure. The CCP's website blockage drew criticism from human rights organizations and media worldwide. These issues made China's human rights become the focus of Western media.
Falun Gong practitioner He Lizhi was sentenced to three and half years imprisonment for downloading five articles from Clearwisdom.net using proxy to share the facts of the persecution with her friends. On August 1, 2008, she spoke out about her suffering to media at the Canadian Parliament building.
Ms. He's bitter experience recalled the situation in China in 2000. China had not won the right to host of Olympics then. But internet control and the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners were already happening on a large scale. Ms. He said, "I was unlawfully imprisoned. One hundred twenty Falun Gong practitioners were jailed on one floor. They were unlawfully imprisoned for telling others about the persecution of Falun Gong. Most of them were sentenced to 7 to 18 years of imprisonment."
Olympics Becomes a Pretext for the CCP to Trample Human Rights
Spokesperson Lucy Zhou of the Falun Dafa Association gave a speech on August 1 at the Parliament building. She said, "To prepare for the Olympics, Chinese security ordered a 'strike hard' against Falun Gong. Up to July 7, there has been more than 8,037 documented arrests of Falun Gong adherents across 29 provinces, major cities and autonomous regions since December 2007. The largest monthly total of 1,819 known arrests occurred in June, followed by 1,799 known arrests in May. Falun Gong practitioners are being killed in custody faster and more frequently than before. Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners will experience the Olympics from inside labor camps, where they are often tortured."
Ms. Zhou said, "Most Chinese are unaware of any of the above because independent information about Falun Gong remains blocked inside China."
Kathy Gillis from the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) recommended a brochure "Torture outside the Olympic Village: Guide to China's Labor Camps." The Guide details vivid information on the history of seven notorious labor camps that are a mere few miles from some Olympic venues and includes:
*A map showing the location of the facility and location of the closest Olympic venue
*Directions to the camp from the nearest airport and train station.
*A photo and description of the camp with address and phone number.
*Products known to have been manufactured at the site
*And brief individual case summaries of current and former prisoners of conscience, the abuse they have suffered in custody, and whether they are available for interview.
The guide also draws particular attention to the plight of adherents of Falun Gong.
In her speech, Ms. Gillis said, "For the past 9 years the Falun Gong practitioners have suffered under the largest most violent persecution that the Chinese people have seen in decades. Reports from United Nations special Rapporteurs have estimated that today Falun Gong practitioners represent 660f all alleged torture cases in China. They state that they continue to be alarmed by deaths in custody in China where Reports describing harrowing scenes in which Falun Gong detainees die as a result of severe, brutal and cruel acts of torture defy description. In the lead up to the Olympic Games the communist regime has fanatically tried to manipulate people into indifference in order to hide their terrible abuses by labeling innocent and responsible human rights defenders, including Falun Gong as being "anti China," "terrorists," "evil" or "political."
Ms. Gillis continued, "At the same time, while we realize the possibility of reporters being able to enter these camps is slim, their ability to remember and give voice to innocent Falun Gong adherents and other civil rights defenders who suffer torture and death only miles from where athletes celebrate victory is not. For giving them a voice is not only our duty as responsible global citizens, it is also the true realization of the Olympic spirit."