End Chinese Internet Censorship: A Call For Your Voice By Amnesty International Australia

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The bid for these Olympic Games by the Chinese Government included commitments to improve human rights in China. So far its Olympic commitments are a long way from being fulfilled, according to Amnesty International Australia.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

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The bid for these Olympic Games by the Chinese Government included commitments to improve human rights in China. So far its Olympic commitments are a long way from being fulfilled, according to Amnesty International Australia.

Amnesty International Australia wants to stop Internet Censorship in China before, during and after the Olympic Games.

Amnesty International is calling on Australia's online community to support the uncensoring of the Internet in China and the right to freedom of expression.

Online Participation, Online Noise -- Make it Loud!

What can you do?

  • Have your say on Amnesty International Australia's campaign blog: http://uncensor.com.au/uncensor/blog/be_heard
  • Sign the pledge against Internet Censorship: http://action.uncensor.com.au/pledge
  • Join the Amnesty International online Day of Protest at http://action.uncensor.com.au/dop/.
  • Attend the "Tear down the firewall" action in Martin Place, Sydney on July 30 or July 31
  • Download Amnesty International badges and content
  • Join the Facebook Cause and invite all your friends
  • Encourage friends in your network to take action
  • Visit the Amnesty International Australia campaign site for information and help challenge Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft in Australia about their stand on censorship in China
  • Take action at http://www.uncensor.com.au

What is Amnesty International's campaign about?
Amnesty International Australia is taking part in the global campaign for human rights reform in China. This campaign focuses on a range of human rights issues including the death penalty, freedom of expression, torture and human rights defenders.

Internet censorship and media freedom in China are the focus of the campaign. Freedom of expression is a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Why are Internet censorship and media freedom so important?
Amnesty International's research has shown that people in China have been imprisoned, tortured and even killed for expressing their opinion online. AIA have found that posting articles, essays or blogs on the Internet regarding a "censored" issue can result in lengthy imprisonment through charges of "espionage" or "divulging state secrets". The research shows that torture in detention is probable, appeals have traditionally been unsuccessful and the fairness of trials regularly comes under question. AIA hold the opinion that major technology companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, Sohu and Baidu help the Chinese government to censor the Internet and silence people.

Amnesty International Australia is campaigning to highlight the abuse of freedom of expression, and to increase transparency. Without this, grave human rights abuses can continue unchecked and without media freedom, the victims of human rights abuses are very unlikely to have their stories heard.

What does Amnesty International Australia (AIA) hope to achieve?
Amnesty International Australia is campaigning for unrestricted access to the Internet in China.

AIA is campaigning for media freedom in China, as promised by the authorities when bidding for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

AIA is campaigning for the release of all individuals imprisoned for expressing their opinion.

AIA is calling on all Internet companies operating in China to live up to their own corporate social responsibilities, statements and mandates.

AIA want major Internet companies to withdraw from the censorship agreement they have with the Chinese Government.

AIA is not mixing sport with politics. The message is not political. The basic principles of humanity are internationally recognised standards and it is the responsibility of all to ensure they are upheld, including governments, individuals and organisations.

Chinese authorities made the link to human rights in their bid for the Olympic Games. The Olympic Charter echoes this spirit with references to "preservation of human dignity" and ''respect for universal, fundamental ethical principles''. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also acknowledged the significance of the Chinese government's promises. Amnesty International Australia's campaign is aimed at ensuring that the Olympics have a positive human rights legacy for Beijing and beyond.

How can supporters be a part of the campaign?
Amnesty International Australia is calling on the Australian online community to support the right to freedom of expression for the Chinese people. Have your say. Online Participation, Online Noise -- Make it Loud! Visit http://www.uncensor.com.au to take action.

What human rights commitments did China make when bidding for the Beijing Olympics?

  • In April, 2001, Liu Jingmin, Vice President of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee stated ''by allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help the development of human rights.''
  • Liu Qi, mayor of Beijing also pledged that ''by hosting the games, social progress and economic development in China would move forward, as would China's human rights situation.''
  • In July 2001, Wang Wei, secretary general of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee said: ''We will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China. We are confident that the Games coming to China not only promotes our economy but also enhances all social conditions, including education, health and human rights.'' Read the facts about Human Rights in China.

Human rights in China -- Stats

  • China executes more people than all other countries in the world combined.
  • For 2006, Chinese official figures stated that 1,010 people were executed. Amnesty International believes the true figure is closer to 8,000 people. Such statistics are classified by the Government as state secrets.
  • 68 crimes in China are punishable by death. Many of these are non-violent and white collar such as fraud, embezzlement, prostitution and robbery.
  • Reporters Without Borders (http://www.rsf.org), states that in 2007, 50 people are in prison for their Internet use and 32 Chinese journalists in prison for their writings.

(Amnesty International Report 2008 The State of the World's Human Rights)

Amnesty International has campaigned for human rights reform in China for many years. This work will continue beyond the end of the Beijing Olympic Games.

For more information about Amnesty International Australia's China Campaign including case studies, research, opinion pieces by contributing writers and the latest reports and media releases, visit http://www.uncensor.com.au.

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