About fifty people were gathered today in front of Zurich’s athletic arena in Switzerland in order to raise awareness about important human rights violations in China. They called for a boycott of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because China has reneged on its promise to improve its human rights record. The Super-Decathlon, 2007, was held in the athletic arena with the slogan “Going to Beijing.”
The activity was part of the Human Rights Torch Relay that started in Athens on August 9th 2007 to ask for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After the torch arrived in twenty European cities, it is now leaving Europe and on its way to Australia. Many politicians, athletes and organisations have supported the torch relay, among them Vaclav Havel and the Vice President of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott.
The organisers stressed that the human rights situation in China has deteriorated, although China promised in 2001 when it was awarded the Olympics, that it would improve its human rights record. In fact, the pressure on Christians, Tibetans, Uighurs, Chinese dissidents and democracy advocates has increased. The situation of Falun Gong practitioners has also deteriorated. The UNO annual report on torture 2007 has shown that sixty six percent of all the torture victims in China are Falun Gong practitioners.
The plight of Beijing attorney and human rights activist, Gao Zhisheng was prominently featured by the Swiss human rights organisation ACAT (Christian Action to Abolish Torture).
Thousands of visitors from the Super Decathlon came by to visit the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong1 (CIPFG) booth. Many of them were happy to accept fliers with more information. A narrator was using a public address system to inform the public about human rights in China and why the CIPFG supports a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
1. CIPFG The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China: an international human rights organisation with a growing membership of 350 politicians, doctors, journalists, former Olympic athletes and human rights activist from several continents. They gave an ultimatum to the Communist regime to stop the persecution of Falun Gong and of all Falun Gong supporters and to open all labour camps, prisons, hospitals and other facilities to an independent investigation probing allegations of forced organ harvesting. The ultimatum passed without an answer from China.
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