On the 7th of October, the Global Human Rights Torch arrived in Sweden’s third biggest city, Malmö after leaving the Danish capital Copenhagen. Sydsvenskan (Swedish Southern Daily) TV station and many local newspapers reported on the event. Many politicians and a famous singer came to the event to call for human rights in China.
The biggest newspaper in southern Sweden Sydwvenskan published an editorial on the day of the event with the title of “A Burning Olympic Torch”. The article said: “This is not a torch for the Beijing Olympic Games, but a real torch, a human rights torch that has been passed to the hands of Swedish people.”
The article also said that Amnesty International and other human rights organisations revealed that the human rights abuses in China have become ever worse as the Olympic Games approaches. The crimes happening in China include torture, brainwashing slave labour, organ stealing, forced abortion, and even providing weapons to the regimes of Sudan and Burma which are used to suppress people. Beyond these, the information blockade is getting tighter before the Olympic Games. The article said that the persecution of human rights lawyers, journalists and Falun Gong practitioners is getting worse. In the end the article warned athletes and sports fans not to be cheated by the high profile propaganda of the Chinese authorities and not to be fooled and made use of by dictators.
Swedish TV station SVT-Sydnytt said in its prime time evening news report that “the torches of the Olympics Games should not become the monopoly of the Games; the Olympic torch has become a symbol of a human rights organisation’s protest against China’s ignorance of human rights and the Beijing Olympics next year. The Global Human Rights Torch has come to Malmö. Canadian human rights lawyer Matas said, the Olympic Games should be based on human rights so they should not be held in a country where human rights are constantly violated.”
The TV news report also said ‘the human rights torch relay will cover thirty five countries and 150 cities before the Beijing Olympics next year. The people who held this torch include well-known Swedish female footballer Lena Vidkull. She took part in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. When asked about whether next year’s Olympic Games should be held in China, her answer was ‘I think the International Olympic Committee should choose another country to host the Olympics’.”
Magnus Manhammar, columnist of the Swedish Southeast daily Sydostran, said in an article entitled ‘Boycott Olympics Held in China’: “We Swedish should express to other countries that there are some countries in the world that do not support the non-human behavior of the dictatorship in China and Burma. The best first step is that Sweden boycott the Olympics held in China. Though this could not help to free Burmese people from its junta, this can make clear Sweden’s attitude towards this issue’.
Swedish female footballer taking part in 1996 Atlanta Olympics Lena Videkull and rowing athlete Tom Krantz took part in the Human Rights Torch Relay in Malmö.
Politician Marianne Berg criticised the International Olympic Committee for ignoring the human rights abuses in China in her speech. Social Democratic MP Hilleve Larsson said, “The Olympic Human Rights Torch won’t extinguish.”
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