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We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics

ICC Note: As the 2008 Olympics approach, more stories of the Chinese government’s abuses of its own people emerge.

By Gu Qinger
7/3/07 CHINA (ChinaAid) – Recently, about 800 Shanghai citizens, published their real names on the Internet with a joint appeal letter titled “Shanghai People’s Urgent Appeal Letter: We Want Human Rights, Instead of the Olympics

Not long ago 6,000 farmers who lost their land in China’s northeast Heilongjiang Province also published a similar joint appeal.

“The 2008 Beijing Olympics is around the corner. Instead of bringing us good luck and happiness, for the last six years, we have been thrown into an unprecedented human rights disaster which we have not seen the end of yet.” said their appeal letter.
Most of the 800 Shanghai citizens are long time appellants who have lost their homes through forced demolition and relocation. In order to protect their rights, they appealed continually, but instead of their problem being resolved, the regime uses “maintaining the social stability” for the Olympics as the excuse to suppress those appeals. According to the appeal letter, “All of the open and legal channels for us to appeal to have been blocked, many of us has been beaten many times by this mafia style government.”
The appellants’ basic living conditions were also deprived. Many of them had been beaten, detained, sentenced, and/or experienced family breakups. Many of their relatives were tortured to death or committed suicide…

On November 3, 2006, Duan Huimin went to Beijing to appeal. His internal organs were severely injured from a beating by police and local government officials whose duty it is to stop people from appealing. During his detention, Duan requested hospitalization daily, but all his requests were denied. On January 2, 2007, Duan died from his severe injuries and delayed treatment. Just two days before his death, Duan received a notice of a one year labor camp sentence.

Duan Huimin’s younger sister Duan Huifang said, “What the Olympics gives us is salt on top of insult. We want a peaceful life, but whenever there are important conferences or foreign VIP visitors, we are illegally placed under house arrest and monitored. Not long ago, when the new Shanghai Party Chief Xi Jinping visited the neighborhood, we were place under house arrest.”

“Does the Olympics promote a good life for the people, respect for human rights, protection of human rights? We have no human rights and no democracy, so we fail to see the purpose of holding the Olympics. Only a small group of dictators benefit, there is no benefit to Chinese democracy at all. We should resist the Olympics.” said Duan Huifang…

Mao Haixiu used to have a happy family and a good income as a manager of a tailoring business in her inherited property. In August 2001, the local regime forcefully relocated her. Her ex-husband died at the scene.

Mao said, “It should be Chinese people’s glory to have the Olympic Games here, but currently, even our right to a basic living cannot be ensured. What is the use of having such a peacockish thing, we are against it.”

The appeal letter also said, “No matter how low profile our appeal is, and non-political and non organized? it could not change our fate of being persecuted, being cracked down upon!”
“We appeal to all governments, media and non-governmental organizations with conscience: We want human rights instead of the Olympics! We hope you will continue to pay attention to Shanghai ’s human rights, listen to our voice, make a judgment between human rights and the Olympics. Which one is more important to Shanghai citizens?”

(Full story)