[JURIST] China is increasing its control over human rights activists [press release] and other political dissidents ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympics [official website], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] reported Thursday. HRW says that leaders in the Communist Party of China (CPC), fearing potential embarrassment brought on by activists highlighting political and social problems, have also attempted to silence independent media coverage. HRW Asia Director Brad Adams said that "political repress is not in keeping with the behavior of a responsible power and Olympic host," and urged the Chinese government against wasting the "unique opportunity to use the 2008 Games to demonstrate to the world it is serious about improving the rights situation in China." Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported Friday the arrest of approximately 220 people [RFA report] for their role in protests relating to the exile of Dalai Lama [BBC profile].
On Thursday, CPC discipline commission spokesperson Gan Yisheng defended China's use of capital punishment [JURIST report] in political and economic corruption cases as being appropriate and effective. Amnesty International [advocacy website] criticized China in April for not doing enough to address human rights abuses [JURIST report]. AP has more.