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As the Pope leaves Australia Australians fear freedom of expression in Beijing [Jul. 17th, 2008|03:33 am]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |crankycranky]

From Socialmediaportal 15th. July 2008

As the start of the Beijing Olympics draws nearer, the flames of controversy surrounding Chinese public authorities’ attitude to human rights are likely to be fanned afresh by an imminent social media campaign set in motion by Amnesty International Australia. The aim of this initiative is to foster and publicise transborder solidarity between Australian social media users and their Chinese counterparts who are effectively silenced by government measures restricting their freedom of speech.

From Amnesty 3rd. July 2008

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has imposed the narrowest interpretation of the Olympic Charter since the Mexico summer Olympics in 1968, and we're worried Australian athletes will be subjected to human rights violations.

The Fundamental Principles of Olympism state the goal is to 'place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity,' says Amnesty International's China campaign coordinator Sophie Peer.

But in the case of the Beijing Olympics just the opposite is happening.

From The Age July 16th. 2008

Dan Silkstone

July 16, 2008 - 9:56AM

All banners and large flags have been banned from Beijing Olympic venues as the Chinese Government seeks to further restrict public free speech during next month's Games.

The unprecedented move drew an angry response from Australian athletes and their supporters, and came as a surprise to the Australian Olympic Committee.

Any statements deemed political - such as those relating to Tibet, Falun Gong, environmental concerns or human rights - were already banned from being displayed on banners or clothing at Games venues. But rules issued yesterday by organising committee BOCOG take the prohibition much further.

"Banners, such as those saying 'Go China', will not be allowed in Olympic venues," state-run news agency Xinhua reported. "While such posters have been frequently seen during the Olympic torch global relay, the tendentious banners violate the fairness principle of an Olympic event, according to Olympic venue rules."

The new controls ban any flags larger than two metres by one metre and those that do not belong to "participating members" of the Games.

Musical instruments, whistles and flash photography have also been banned. Supporters will be searched at venues and all banners will be confiscated.

Australian Olympic swimmer Craig Stevens said: "It's just going over the top. The rules are just getting stricter and stupider. I'm not sure who is making the rules, but it is obviously not someone who has been to an event like this before.

From PR Web (Press Release Newswire) July 16th 2008

Amnesty International Australia Campaign Coordinator, Sophie Peer commented, "We know it is an issue the online community is talking about. There is concern in Australia that Chinese Government censorship of the Internet is coming to these shores too. We are asking the Australian online public to amplify their concerns about the issues of Internet censorship and the consequential imprisonment of innocent Chinese people, such as Shi Tao who simply used his Yahoo! email account to pass on censorship directives from the Chinese government and is now serving ten years in prison. Our own Australian athletes and reporters could be inhibited from expressing their own opinions online and using the Internet freely while they are in Beijing. It is a concern for all Australian's in the run up to the Beijing Olympics."

In a nutshell they'll be NO Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi at the Olympic Games in Beijing (unless of course Australian athletes, tourists and freedom loving people's of the world wish to end up in a Chinese prison cell for 10 years).

It's reassuring that Kevin Rudd speaks fluent Mandarin. I believe that he and his government ( and fellow supporters of the arts ) enthusiastically endorse Chinese style censorship and the curtailment of individual freedoms and no doubt understand WHY we NEED it !