Sign Petition letter here at MWC.
Below is a self-explanatory letter to the International Olympic Committee listing major concerns affecting the international community and arising out of appalling policies of the Beijing government, which are only now garnering international attention. Please consider co-signing this letter to indicate your solidarity with those who are determined “never again” to stand idly by and turn its eyes away from genocide as the world did from 1931 to 1945. Your support in advancing the cause of human dignity is invaluable at this crucial time and it is greatly appreciated.
US-CANADA Chair, Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong
China Country Monitor for Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
Mr. Jacques Rogge, President
Members of the International Olympic Committee
Chateau De Vidy, Case Postale 356
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland
Dear Mr. Rogge and members of the IOC:
On November 8, 2007, Li Zhanjun, News Director of the Beijing Olympics media center, responded to western criticism of religious restrictions previously announced by Beijing, saying that the Chinese Communist government would now allow athletes and tourists to bring religious objects for personal use during the Olympics. However, this policy will not apply to Falun Gong practitioners: "Falun Gong texts, Falun Gong activities in China are forbidden," and "Foreigners who come to China must respect and abide by the laws of China." (AP)
We are distressed at this policy which is in direct violation of article 5 of the Olympic Charter, which states that: "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."
As well, Article 36 of China’s own constitution declares that citizens "enjoy freedom of religious belief," and that, "No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion."
The persecution of Chinese citizens who practise Falun Gong constitutes a violation of China’s constitution by the Beijing government. That persecution of Chinese citizens is well-known. However, the host country for the 2008 Olympic Games has now extended its discriminatory religious policies to the entire international community through these recent declarations. Beijing, as host country, is saying that while participating foreign athletes who are Christians will be allowed to bring Bibles into the Olympic Village and to practise their faith while residing there, foreign athletes who are Falun Gong practitioners will not be allowed to bring Falun Gong materials or to practise their Falun Gong exercises. In fact, foreign athletes who are adherents of Falun Gong may not be allowed to participate in the Games at all.
This is eerily reminiscent of the situation which obtained before and during the Nazi Olympics of 1936 in Berlin. Within Germany, Hitler barred Jewish citizens from competing for places on the German Olympic team. Unlike his contemporary counterparts in Beijing with respect to Falun Gong, Hitler did not go so far as to impose restrictions on Jewish competitors from other countries. Nevertheless, his discriminatory racial and religious policies within Germany itself provoked a widespread call in the United States for a boycott of the Nazi Olympics, and many Jewish athletes refused to participate.
Not only does this latest order further demonstrate the Chinese regime’s unwillingness to fulfil its 2001 promise to the IOC to improve human rights in China, but it is also clear proof that any hope of improving Chinese human rights through the Olympics is futile because of Beijing’s total and demonstrable insincerity.
You may recall that in April 2007, Beijing’s Ministry of Public Service issued a blacklist barring “antagonistic elements” from attending the Games, including adherents of Falun Gong, “religious infiltrators” and others. Although this was a clear violation of the Olympic Charter, we are unaware of any declaration by the International Olympic Committee that it will enforce that Charter or that the IOC is at all concerned about the fact that Beijing has trampled upon the Charter.
Li Zhanjun's response clearly demonstrates that the Chinese government's policy of persecuting Falun Gong and its practitioners continues unabated. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has overtly extended the regime's persecution of Falun Gong to the Olympics—a most noble institution that is respected worldwide. Such abuse and discrimination against the followers of a peaceful spiritual teaching not only trash the Olympic Spirit, but also constitute a spurning of fundamental morality and ethics in the international society.
Having called upon the world not to politicize the Olympics, Beijing’s leaders have persistently, continuously, and consistently turned their hosting of the Games into a totally political propaganda extravaganza designed to glorify, whitewash, and strengthen their single-party dictatorship. They have from the outset exploited the opportunity afforded them by the IOC in precisely the same way as Goebbels and Hitler before them.
Therefore, we call on the IOC to:
- Require Beijing to rescind its policy of barring Falun Gong from the Olympics, which constitutes a severe breach of the Olympic Charter;
- Reconsider the eligibility of the Communist regime to stage the Olympic Games, given the steadily worsening human rights situation in China today;
- Discuss the possibility of holding the Olympics in another nation.
We also urge the international community and athletes from around the world to condemn Beijing’s trashing of the Olympic spirit and its scorn for the Olympic Charter.
The whole world is about to learn what religious repression “made in China” means. Beijing's characterization of Falun Gong as “illegal” is a clumsy attempt to justify a pogrom of government sanctioned violence and persecution. There is no basis in the Chinese Constitution or in any other Chinese law for Beijing’s claim that Falun Gong is illegal in China. It is “illegal” only because the top leadership declared it to be “illegal”, and no Chinese court has the authority to interpret the Constitution and overturn the fiats of the top leaders. No judicial process was ever involved in rendering Falun Gong “illegal”.
It is clear that the Chinese regime must stop using the Olympics as a cover for launching a crackdown on peaceful people of faith both in China and abroad and to halt the persecution of Falun Gong and all Chinese citizens.
Hence, we, the undersigned, believe that the IOC has the moral obligation to bring the true Olympic spirit to the Chinese people as set forth in the Olympic Charter. It’s not too late for the IOC to renegotiate the location of the Olympics and bring some well-deserved sobriety and human dignity into this situation for the sake of the Chinese people and our proud athletes.
Previous Olympics devolved into propaganda bonanzas for dictatorial hosts, such as the Nazis in 1936 and the Soviets in 1980, rather than promoting the universal celebration of peaceful competition and sport for people of all colours and creeds in accordance with the Olympic ideal. Beijing cannot possibly expect to freely continue with rampant political oppression, mass executions, forced abortions, illicit organ harvesting, religious persecution, and a slew of other human rights abuses, while attempting to present a civilized face to the world as host of the Summer Games in 2008.