The World Association of Newspapers has launched a major campaign calling on the Chinese government to honour its promises of reform ahead of the Olympics Games. The campaign calls for the release of all imprisoned Chinese journalists and cyber reporters.
The Organising Committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games issued a “Beijing Olympic Action Plan” in 2002, laying out a series of promises as part of Beijing’s preparation to be the host city. The pledge included: “In the preparation for the Games, we will be open in every aspect to the rest of the country and the whole world. We will draw on the successful experience of others and follow international standards and criteria.
China has not honoured its commitments; in fact, the Chinese government has increased its repression of free expression and press freedom, and continues to imprison and harass those who dare speak openly as the opening of the Games fast approaches. Over 30 journalists and more than 50 cyber reporters are imprisoned in China, and the country’s media are under total control of the authorities.
If China is to be considered a worthy host of the Olympic Games, the authorities must fulfil their promises and allow for freedom of expression both among journalists and ordinary citizens.