Amnesty: China Broke Promises of Free Speech

Olympic committee has hushed dissent despite 2001 vow
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 29, 2008 11:13 AM CDT
Chinese athletes sit in front of the Olympic rings displayed near the Athletes Village during the official opening in Beijing, China, Sunday, July 27, 2008.    (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – Ten days ahead of the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony, Amnesty International charged that China hasn’t welched on promises of freedom for activists and journalists it made when it was awarded the Games. “The Chinese authorities are tarnishing the legacy of the Games,” said a rep who called for the release of “imprisoned peaceful activists” and a path to ending the death penalty, Bloomberg reports.

China’s Olympic bid committee said in 2001 that it would “give the media complete freedom to report”—but the country has jailed people it sees as a risk to an image of “stability,” the human rights group says. A foreign reporters’ group found 260 instances of meddling since early 2007, and Amnesty expressed “surprise” at the International Olympic Committee’s “confidence that foreign media will be able to report freely.”