June 9th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Climate change: don't spoil a good story with facts

NATIONAL SECURITY: How to fight global terrorism

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd attack on Howard comes unstuck

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Nuclear power, ethanol can cut CO2 emissions

PRIMARY INDUSTRY: Wheat industry win, but final outcome uncertain

OPINION: Caving in to predatory big business

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Workplace relations and human asset-stripping / The Tampa victory revisited / Another tinsel turkey for Auntie / Show and tell

DRUGS POLICY: Drugs must be a federal election issue

CHINA: Beijing's crackdown ahead of Olympics

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Can we afford to ignore the Middle East?

MEDICAL ETHICS: Intentionally deformed ... for her own good?

EDUCATION: Intact family the single most critical factor in academic success

THE WORLD: Poland - front line in the culture wars

OBITUARY: Polish-Australian Stan Gotowicz a man of many parts

Howard Government's 'generosity' disputed (letter)

Apology for error (letter)

Why families can't afford a home (letter)

CINEMA: Family - the necessary refuge for sinners

BOOKS: MENACE IN EUROPE: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's, by Claire Berlinski

Books promotion page

Beijing's crackdown ahead of Olympics

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, June 9, 2007
In light of China's gross violations of human rights, should the Australian Government discourage Australia's participation in the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008? Peter Westmore reports.

The recent resignation of 22 million people from the Chinese Communist Party is an event unprecedented in the history of any communist party, and indeed, of any political party anywhere.

Yet in spite of the fact that the CCP has lost the confidence of so many of its members, and undoubtedly a far larger number of ordinary Chinese people who were never members, the regime stubbornly refuses to submit itself to the will of the people.

If the official title, the "People's Republic of China", is to mean anything, it is imperative that the Chinese Communist Party permit the operation of other political parties in China, and submit itself to the will of the people in open, free and fair elections, of the type which we are used to in Australia.

The abject failure of the Chinese Communist Party, under President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, to relax the political stranglehold of the Chinese Communist Party is a clear sign of the failure of the party to admit any true form of democracy, either inside China or inside the Communist Party itself.

More open?

When China was granted the Olympic Games, it undertook to improve human rights in the country. In fact, some people said that the Olympic Games would force the Communist regime to be more open, more democratic, and to respect human rights.

In fact, the opposite has happened. Today, China is less open, less democratic, and shows a contemptuous disregard for human rights: the Olympic Games have simply become an occasion for the regime to spread propaganda about its economic development.

But this development is being conducted at the expense of human rights, workers' rights and the environment. It is a sign of the regime's contempt for human rights that it is stepping up political controls ahead of the Olympic Games.

The Australian's Beijing correspondent has reported: "China ... appears to be cranking up a strategy of preventing human rights activists with strong international profiles or contacts from travelling overseas, as a damage-control measure in this sensitive period in the run-up first to the crucial five-yearly Communist Party national congress in October, then to the Olympic Games." (The Australian, May 21, 2007).

Further, courageous human rights activists such as the lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, and Dr Gao Yaojie, have been detained without trial or put under house arrest. And in the meantime, an unknown but large number of Falun Gong practitioners are being detained without trial, and their organs forcibly removed from their living bodies in acts of barbarism comparable to the medical experiments performed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

All this is happening today in China, and has been documented by many former Chinese citizens in Australia, as well as by two well-known Canadian human rights lawyers, David Matas and David Kilgour.

Unless the persecutions stop now, the Australian Government should indicate, as it did with the cricket tour of Zimbabwe, that it does not approve of Australia's participation in the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

- Peter Westmore.

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