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Calling on China to End Human Rights Abuses Prior to the Olympics

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Location: Washington, DC


CALLING ON CHINA TO END HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES PRIOR TO THE OLYMPICS -- (House of Representatives - July 30, 2008)

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Mr. CHABOT. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution which underscores Beijing's broken promise to the International Olympic Committee and the international community. When Beijing was awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics, China's leaders committed themselves to using this historic event as a catalyst to improve human rights for the citizens of the world's most populous nation. By all credible accounts, however, the human rights situation in China has not improved on the eve of the games. The Olympics has led China's draconian security forces to further crack down on dissidents and increase repression of minority groups. The glimmer of gold from Olympic medals in Beijing cannot conceal a tarnished record of Chinese official sponsorship of dictatorial regimes in Sudan, Burma and North Korea. The shine of silver cannot blind us to the fact that the Beijing regime continues its bloody suppression of minority groups, including the Tibetans. The brilliance of bronze cannot block out the repression of Falun Gong practitioners, Internet journalists, underground church believers and other political prisoners left to languish in the laogai forced labor camps and the vast prison system.

In a report issued just yesterday, Amnesty International affirmed that in the last year alone, thousands of dissidents, reformers and other independent voices were arrested as part of a campaign by Chinese authorities to ``clean up'' Beijing before the start of the Olympic games. According to the report, human rights activists have been targeted in other parts of the country as well, with many of those arrested and sentenced to manual labor without trial. Amnesty's report cites the case of one activist who was arrested earlier this month on charges of possessing state secrets, although it is believed that the arrest was prompted by his efforts to help the families of children killed in May's earthquake bring a legal case against local authorities.

Amnesty's deputy director in Asia said: ``By continuing to persecute and punish those who speak out for human rights, the Chinese authorities have lost sight of the promises they made when they were granted the games 7 years ago. The Chinese authorities are tarnishing the legacy of the games.'' I agree with what he said.

When it comes to the pursuit of democratic values and human rights, we remain a world divided with a dream unfulfilled for many in China and elsewhere. I urge my colleagues to join in sending the Chinese leadership a strong message.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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