Amnesty International launched a new website this week called Uncensor, with lots of information on the use of internet censorship to restrict information access and freedom of speech, as well as updates on the continuing failures in the human rights record of the Chinese government. In the spirit of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the Uncensor site comes complete with its own mascot – Nu Wa.
A recent story detailed on the site is about human rights campaigner Hu Jia. He is a writer, blogger and film-maker. He has just been sentenced to three and a half years jail for “”inciting subversion of state power”. His wife and four month old baby daughter remain under house arrest.
More on Hu Jia and his wife Zeng Jinyan in these stories in The Independent and Radio Free Asia. The story has got very wide coverage, even on sites like AOL Sports. The Wall Street Jounal suggests “if anything, China has cracked down harder on activists in preparation for the Olympic”, quoting an assessment by Reporters Without Borders that “100 journalists, internet users and activists were imprisoned last year alone.”
This link goes to a paper Hu Jia wrote for an internet conference late last year with the European Union Human Rights Council in Brussels. It deals specifically with links between the human rights situation and the Beijing Olympics.
The paper asserts that
In April, an internal document issued by the Ministry of Public Security stated: political investigations would be secretly stepped up, with 11 categories and 43 types of people prohibited from participating in the Olympics, including political dissidents, human rights defenders, some news organizations, religious groups, and others.
That suggests an interesting interpretation of the Fundamental Principle of Olympism, which includes the following:
• Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.