The Beijing Olympics have been a human rights disaster in China. There has been a nationwide crackdown on dissidents and a marked uptick in surveillance and propaganda. Ellen Bork from Freedom House writes about it today in the Wall Street Journal.
China’s diligent focus on censoring anything unsavory to its Communist rulers as the Olympics approaches has had an unintended ironic effect. The world is watching as this crackdown unfolds. Everyday in the paper, on blogs, and on websites, we see new stories of China’s trampling on the rights of its people. This shining of light, Bush’s remarks in Thailand…
America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists. We press for openness and justice not to impose our beliefs, but to allow the Chinese people to express theirs.
…and the unavoidable context that must complement any story about the Olympics under this repressive regime, can only help. So, perhaps, the silver lining to the cloud that hovers over Beijing (no pun intended), is that we are all paying attention, and the Chinese know that we do not approve. A cultural meme is setting in. And, in time, ideas give flower to change. I quote Bush again:
Change in China will arrive on its own terms and in keeping with its own history and its own traditions. Yet change will arrive. And it will be clear for all to see that those who aspire to speak their conscience and worship their God are no threat to the future of China. They’re the people who will make China a great nation in the 21st century.
Let us hope that Bush will continue to press this issue. Write him here to let him know you want him to.
P.S. Here’s a harrowing report from Amnesty International on China’s human rights situation.