Weekend protests against Chinese repression of press rights by Reporters Without Borders included a giant flag flown in Paris showing the Olympic rings transformedinto handcuffs; a bicycle rally in New York with the “Beijing 2008” handcuffs graphic; a news conference in Beijing outside the building that houses the Beijing Organising Committee; and a news conference with Amnesty International in Montreal. An op-ed was published in several daily newspapers.

The press rights organization wants China to keep human rights promises made before it was awarded next year’s Olympics — namely, the release of some 100 imprisoned journalists, cyber-dissidents and free speech activists and “an end to censorship of the news media and Internet. ”

From the RSF news release in Canada:


    MONTREAL, Aug. 7 /CNW Telbec/ – Reporters Without Borders staged events around the world to denounce the appalling human rights situation in China as the organisers of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the International Olympic
Committee today gathered in Tiananmen Square in a ceremony exactly one year ahead of the opening of the games.
        In Paris, a 100-square-metre flag showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs was unfurled today by Reporters Without Borders activists along one of the bridges over the Seine. This graphic, together with the words “Beijing 2008,” was also displayed on an advertising truck and bicycles* that circulated the city all day. And the organisation’s activists distributed
thousands of postcards with the graphic to Parisians and tourists attending the “Paris Beach” events along the Seine.
        At the same time, a total of 30,000 posters (60 cm x 80 cm) with the same handcuffs image have been put up all over France.
        In New York, bicycles displaying the “Beijing 2008” handcuffs graphic rode through the streets of Manhattan, and leaflets about the human rights situation in China were distributed to passers-by.
        In Beijing, on 6 August, four Reporters Without Borders representatives including its president, Fernando Castello, its vice-president, Rubina Mvhring, and its secretary-general, Robert Ménard, gave a news conference yesterday outside the building that houses the Beijing Organising Committeefor the Olympic Games (BOCOG).
        In Montreal, Reporters Without Borders took part with Amnesty International in a news conference yesterday at the Olympic stadium that hosted the 1976 games.
        The press freedom organisation also offered leading daily newspapers an op-ed piece on the poor situation of press freedom in China. It is being published by newspapers in Austria (Der Standard), Belgium (Le Soir), Brazil (O Globo), Canada (National post, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun), France (Libération), Great Britain (The Independent) and Spain (El Mundo).
        T-shirts with the “Beijing 2008” handcuffs image can be bought on the Internet at the Fruit of the Boom website (www.fruitoftheboom.com).
        Reporters Without Borders is calling for the release of the approximately 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents and free speech activists currently held in China, and an end to censorship of the news media and Internet. At least 12 websites were closed or blocked in July alone.
        The graphic is available in a high-definition version (EPS, 300 DPI, CMJN) in six languages from the Media Downloads section of the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf.org). Web banners are also available in various formats in French, English and Spanish.

Coverage:

China detains reporters, Toronto Star

Rights Groups See No Improvement in China, New York Times

One Year Out From Olympics, A Test of Openness in Beijing, Washington Post

Amnesty Criticizes China Over Olympics, Guardian

Context:

Foreign Media in China Say Freedoms Still Lack, Wall Street Journal online
By MEI FONG August 2, 2007
BEIJING — Ninety-five percent of foreign journalists in China think reporting conditions in the country don’t meet international standards, according to a survey that suggests Beijing may need to do more ahead of the 2008 Olympics to convince the international community of its openness.

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