Italian Branch of Amnesty International Participates in a Global Campaign Calling on China to Respect Human Rights

In the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Amnesty International initiated a global campaign to call on Beijing to make significant improvement in its human rights situation. On December 5th, 2007, the Italian branch of Amnesty International joined the campaign. In a statement, the director of the Italian branch of Amnesty International said, “The Olympic Games to be held in Beijing in August next year would be a precious opportunity for the people around the world to pay attention to China’s human rights situation. People may call on the Beijing Administration to improve its human rights record directly or through the twenty thousand journalists who have signed up to cover the event.”

He added, “The objective of this global campaign initiated by Amnesty International is to urge China to fulfill the commitments it made at the International Olympic Committee. In April 2001, Beijing Olympic officials announced that if Beijing was awarded the opportunity of hosting the Olympic Games, it would help improve the human right situation in China. It is only eight months away from the opening of the Olympic Games, but it’s a far cry from truly respecting human rights in China, though the Chinese regime has loosened its manipulation of the death penalty and press freedom.”

In Beijing, the police “cleansed the city,” under the pretext of hosting the Olympic Games, through various administrative penalty practices, such as implementing the drug rehabilitation treatment Centre and forced labour camp systems. In a report entitled “The 2008 Olympic Games and human rights in China,” China’s human rights situation was extensively discussed, especially in the following four areas: the death penalty, the persecution against human rights activists, the incarceration of people without trial and the censorship of the mass media.

As the opening of the Olympic Games is fast approaching, we would like to request the following basic demands to the Chinese regime: Significantly decrease the number of death penalty cases until the abolishment of the death penalty system; implement the imprisonment system according to international law and regulations as well as promise to provide fair legal proceedings with defendants so as to avoid cruel torture; promise to allow human right activists sufficient freedom of movement and stop the practices of intimidation, apprehension and incarceration against them; stop Internet censorship. It is expected that there would be over one hundred organisations participating in this campaign.

A signature collection activity was scheduled to be held on December 8th and 9th to support the four Chinese human rights activists who are being imprisoned for promoting human rights activities. The “purchasing a candle activity” was slotted for December 15th and 16th to collect signatures supporting the rescue campaign for Falun Gong practitioners Bu Dongwei, who was arrested because of carrying Falun Gong flyers and was incarcerated under cruel torture in a forced labour camp. On May 24th and 25th, 2008, Amnesty International will hold an extensive signature collection campaign to call on China to respect human rights.

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