Will Olympics Move China to Improve its Record on Human Rights?

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C
ould
the 2008 Olympics spur progress on human rights in China? Tessa
Jowell, Minister for the 2012 Games in London, thinks it’s possible.
Writing in the Telegraph, she says:
   “… we all have to recognize there
is another side to China: its [poor]
record on human rights. Yes, there have been improvements. Media access
for foreign journalists is unrecognizable from a generation ago
–- and that in significant part is down to hosting the Games.

   “… I hope a positive experience this
month will lead to more change. This is unfinished business. We must
continue our engagement with China so we maximize the chance that progress
on human rights is remembered as one of the lasting legacies of Beijing
2008.”

   Progress
on human rights won’t be easy, to borrow the British penchant for
understatement. The deplorable state of human rights in China
seems, in many ways, to be the opposite of American and Western values.
   The U.S. State Department’s 2007 report on human rights cites a long list of violations—severe cultural and religious repression of minorities; tight restrictions on freedom of speech, the media, and the Internet; extrajudicial killings; torture and coerced confessions of prisoners; the use of forced labor; lack of due process; severe limitations on freedom of assembly and freedom of movement; and a coercive birth limitation policy. And that’s not all.
   But, what do you think? What are you reading and seeing?
   Could
the 2008 Olympics be a start in changing China’s record on human rights?

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