[JURIST] China has not kept its promises to improve human rights and press freedom in preparation for the 2008 Olympics [official website] slated to open next August in Beijing, according to a new report [text; press release] released Tuesday by Amnesty International [advocacy website]. Amnesty said that the Chinese government had recently committed an increasing number of rights abuses against political and religious opponents:
While positive steps have been made in some limited areas, namely reform of the death penalty system and greater reporting freedom for foreign journalists in China, Amnesty International remains concerned that these are overshadowed by other negative developments in particular the growing crackdown on Chinese human rights activists and journalists as well as the continued use of 'Re-education through Labour' (RTL) and other forms of detention without trial. Official statements suggest that the Olympics are being used to justify such repression in the name of 'harmony' or 'social stability' rather than acting as a catalyst for reform. Global experience shows that the best way to ensure social stability is to ensure the protection of fundamental human rights based on the rule of law.On Monday, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website] staged an unauthorized protest [AP report] in Beijing against the Chinese government's continued detention of "approximately 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents, and free speech activists" [press release], and urged the International Olympic Committee [official website] to take action to have China release the jailed dissidents.
Amnesty said in an April report [text] that China was not doing enough to remedy human rights abuses [JURIST report; press release] ahead of the Olympics. Last Thursday, Human Rights Watch [official website] reported that China is increasing its control over human rights activists [press release; JURIST report] and other political dissidents. AP has more.