|US disappointed Olympics
didn't open China more - August 24, 2008
US disappointed Olympics didn't open China more
By ROHAN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer Sun Aug 24,
5:03 PM ET
BEIJING - The United States said Sunday it was
disappointed the Olympics had not brought more "openness
and tolerance" in China as the games
ended and eight American
activists were deported during closing ceremonies.
The blunt U.S. criticism — and China's harsher treatment
of foreign activists — came at the end of 17 days of
Olympic competition that generally went smoothly for
Chinese organizers who had been nervous about security
No rallies were held throughout the entire Olympics in
three parks designated as protest zones after Chinese
officials declined to issue permits to 77 applicants,
and detained some of them. But mostly foreign activists
staged a series of small illegal demonstrations near
Olympic venues and at Beijing landmarks.
The foreigners, for the most part, unveiled "Free Tibet"
banners before being seized by security officials,
hustled into cars and taken away to be put on flights
out of China.
A handful journalists trying to cover the protests were
roughed up by authorities then released. There were also
tensions with the media over China restricting access to
Beijing had promised the media freedom to report the
games and announced the protest parks as part of efforts
to address criticism that China should not have been
awarded the games because of its human rights record and
tight controls on internal dissent.
The White House said in a statement that eight
individuals — James Powderly, Brian Conley, Jeffrey Rae,
Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss, Tom Grant, Jeremy Wells and
John Watterberg — were deported by Chinese authorities
at 9 p.m. Sunday Beijing time on a China Air flight to
Ambassador Clark T. Randt Jr. had pressed the Chinese
government Saturday to immediately release the eight.
"We encourage the government of China to demonstrate
respect for human rights, including freedom of
expression and freedom of religion, of all people during
the Olympic Games and beyond," a U.S. Embassy statement
"We are disappointed that China has not used the
occasion of the Olympics to demonstrate greater
tolerance and openness," it said.
In his wrap up news conference Sunday, International
Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said the games
had helped to open up China. But he expressed surprise
that no permission had been granted for any protests.
During the games, Beijing organizers were consistently
pressed by journalists about people's right to dissent
but they routinely deferred comment by trying to focus
on sports rather than politics.
In the first week of the games, several foreign
protesters were put on flights out the country within
days of being detained. But in the final week, at least
10 foreigners were ordered detained for 10 days under
rules that allow officials to hold them without charge
for up to 14 days.
A British and a German demonstrator who had also been
detained were to be deported on Monday, authorities from
those two countries said.
Late Sunday, the British Embassy said it has been
notified that British protester Mandy McKeown would be
deported Monday. The news came after British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown, who attended the closing
ceremony, urged authorities to free the woman.
"The Prime Minister did make it clear to China that she
should be released," Greg Mulheirn, the embassy's first
secretary, told The Associated Press by phone.
Rogge said the IOC "found it unusual" that none of
applications lodged to hold protests during the games
He said IOC officials discussed with games organizers
the case of two elderly Chinese women who were ordered
to spend a year in a labor camp after applying to
protest, though the women were still at home under
surveillance. The IOC was told it was a matter of
"The International Olympic Committee is not a sovereign
organization," Rogge said. "We have to respect Chinese
Several members of another group that sought permission
to protest during the games were detained in a room for
48 hours by Chinese authorities before being deported to
Hong Kong, group spokesman Xiao Yuzhen said. The group
represents businessmen in Hong Kong who wanted to
complain about corruption.
Separately, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders group
said AIDS activist Wang Xiaoqiao, who has been detained
for nine months, has been convicted and sentenced to one
year in prison in Xincai county. The organization
accused the government of waiting until the Olympics,
when the world was distracted by the games, to sentence
Phone calls to the Xincai county court and the news
office of the county's public security bureau were not
Celil allowed to meet with mother, sister
- (Oct 13 2008)
China: Uighur Writer Detained
(Oct 09 2008)
US Court of Appeals blocks
release of Guantánamo Uighurs as government resorts to
‘scare tactics’ - (10 October 2008)
2 Chinese Policemen Killed, 7
Wounded in Xinjiang - ( 8/28/2008 )
Two police die in Xinjiang clash
- ( 8/28/2008 )
Uyghurs stand up to China over
East Turkistan - ( 8/18/2008 )
Few answers in violence-hit
Xinjiang - ( 8/16/2008 )