Uyghur Leader Support Tibetan Protest against Beijing 2008 at theClosing Ceremony

Thursday, 26th August 2004

Chinese Dissidents and Uyghur Leader Support Tibetan Protest against Beijing 2008 at the Closing Ceremony

Audience Asked Not to Applaud the Handover of the Olympic Flag during Closing Ceremony

Athens – Prominent Chinese human rights activists, the World Uyghur Congress and international human rights organisations have joinedTibetan rights supporters in calling for a peaceful protest during the Olympic Closing Ceremony in Athens on Sunday 29th August. Athletes and spectators are being asked to demonstrate their support for human rights in China and an end to the occupation of Tibet by remaining silent during China’s presentation and the handover of the Olympic Flag from Athens to Beijing. Olympic Watch, Harry Wu (founder of the Laogai Foundation) and the World Uyghur Congress are among those endorsing the action.

“The people of China certainly deserve the Olympic Games. Regrettably, the Chinese government does not,” said Harry Wu. “It is very important that the world knows that there is a growing coalition of far-sighted Chinese and Tibetans who want to work together for a peaceful future. More important than constructing fancy stadiums in record time is to build a free society and to end repression.”

Mr. Erkin Alptekin, the President of the World Uyghur Congress said the following regarding the handover of the Olympic Flag from Athens toBeijing: “… The Olympic Flag from Athens will be handed over to Beijing at the end of the Olympic games. The Olympic flag symbolizes peace, harmony and solidarity among various nations. Athens is the source of democracy, rule of law and human rights. For the last 50 years, however,Beijing has been turned into a center of oppression, arbitrary arrest and execution. The Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 will be a nightmare for thousands of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Chinese dissidents. Because, under the pretext of “security” the Chinese leaders are preparing themselves to detain, torture and even execute hundreds of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Chinese dissidents during the Olympic games in 2008…”

“The Beijing regime continues to be one of the worst violators of human rights in the world,” said Jan Ruml, Chairman of Olympic Watch. “It threatens to invade the democratic Taiwan. Under such conditions, holding the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing would seriously compromise the Olympic ideals of ‘human dignity’ and ‘peace’. The Beijing government needs to give all ordinary Chinese, Tibetan, and Uyghur people the human dignity they deserve and request. We call on all good Olympians to remember the victims of oppression by holding a moment of silence when Beijing receives the Olympic flag this Sunday.”

“I want to have the Olympics in Beijing, but before this can happen the Chinese government has to considerably improve the human rights situation, release democrats and stop executions”, said Peng Xiaoming, Chair of the Association of Chinese Students and Academics in Germany. “The torch is a symbol for the Chinese to improve their human rights situation – only then can the Olympics truly take place in Beijing.”