China - Olympic Games - Reporters Without Borders demonstrates in Olympia at start of Olympic torch relay to Beijing



    MONTREAL, March 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Three Reporters Without Borders
representatives, including secretary-general Robert Ménard, today unfurled a
banner showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs at the official
Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, in Greece. The three human rights
activists were neutralized by the security.
    "The Olympic flame may be sacred but human rights are even more so," the
press freedom organisation said. "We could not let the Chinese government take
the Olympic flame, a symbol of peace, without denouncing the dramatic human
rights situation in China with less than five months to go to the start of the
Olympic Games."
    Reporters Without Borders added: "The treatment reserved in China for
those who express themselves freely, the censorship imposed on the press and
the news blackout in Tibet demand this sort of protest. All possible means
must now be used to condemn the serious violations of basic freedoms in China.
We will protest whenever we can."
    Reporters Without Borders is also calling on heads of state, heads of
government and members of royal families to boycott the 8 August opening
ceremony of the Beijing games.
    The organisation will hold a news conference on the press freedom
situation in China at 11 a.m. on 27 March at the Lawyers Centre in Athens.
    Around 100 journalists, Internet users and cyber-dissidents are currently
imprisoned in China just for expressing their views peacefully. Journalists
have been banned from visiting Tibet since 12 March and have been expelled
from neighbouring provinces. The crackdown on protests by Tibetans is taking
place out of sight.
    Chinese journalists continue to be subject to the dictates of the
Publicity Department (the former Propaganda Department), which imposes
censorship on a wide range of subjects. The government and party continue to
control news and information and have authoritarian laws to punish violators.
    Charges of subversion, disseminating state secrets or spying are often
brought against journalists and cyber-dissidents. Self-censorship is the rule
in news organisations. Independent Chinese-language media based abroad are
blocked, harassed or jammed, preventing the emergence of diversity in news and
information.
    More information about the Reporters Without Borders international
campaign on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is available in English, French,
Spanish, Arabic and Chinese at the Reporters Without Borders website
(www.rsf.org).




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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