As much as I would like to talk about the burgeoning federal deficit, the endless series of funny McCain viral videos, universal healthcare; today is about the suppression of human rights in China. How many of us know about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? I spoke to some of my colleagues at work yesterday and asked this very question; not one person could name one article from the declaration.
No country is perfect as a Chinese friend of mine texted me the other day when he read a recent article I wrote concerning China on this blog. That being said, when I think about the human rights abuses that have occurred and are occurring in America, I realize there is no excuse and I do not support places like Guantanamo Bay which violate article 9 of the UDHR:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
The violations of the UDHR undertaken by the American Government are serious but the difference between the USA and the PRC are that in America and the West we can actually protest these things. When Woeser tried to leave China to receive awards for her poetry, the Chinese government has denied her a passport because as I wrote in a previous post: her coverage of the Tibetan riots perturbed the Chinese Government and they want to make sure that there is one less critic of Chinese policies outside of China.
People cannot protest in China for the fear of threatening “stability” or “harmony.” Any such protests can sometimes lead to lengthy prison sentences as well as possible re-education. What can we do? We can hope that the media will attempt to make a difference when they are covering the games however this is highly doubtful given that Beijing has already broken the promise of complete media freedom:
Reports have just confirmed that foreign journalists working from the Olympics press center in Beijing are unable to access amnesty.org, the Amnesty International website. In addition, The China Debate, a site recently launched by Amnesty International as a forum to discuss human rights has been blocked in China.
A number of other websites are also reported to have been blocked, including Taiwan newspaper Liberty Times and the Chinese versions of both Germany’s Deutsche Welle and the BBC.
The media can be ruled out, so as citizens of the world, we have to pressure our respective governments to push China to use the Olympics to showcase its support for human rights. I must give credit where it is due, President Bush has done exactly that in recent months and I hope he will keep up the pressure throughout the Olympic Games so that we can see some sort of positive impact generated rather then support of the status quo. Today Politics Across The Pond stands with those people in China who want freedom:
This will be the only post available today, I will restore the usual settings of this blog tomorrow. Thank you for supporting this day and please stop by the Dragon Lady’s Den where can you can see censorship at work (could not get the code to work for this site).