With the recent earthquake in China, the Chinese government has had a respite from criticism around the Tibet issue. Instead, the focus has rightly been on helping those people in immediate need. (And in immediate need they still are.) China has been unusually open in the aftermath of the earthquake, allowing journalists to access many of the regions, and welcoming foreign aid unlike Myanmar.
However, that does not mean that China's overall human rights have improved overnight. There was hope that by giving Beijing the honor of hosting the Olympics, the Olympic committee could have a positive impact on China's human rights. Unlike in past years, though, the details of the contract to host the Olympics have not been made public.
Thus far there doesn't seem to be much actual change. China's relations with Tibet have not improved, and the recently released rules and regulations for all Olympics-bound foreigners (as determined by the Beijing organizing committee) are very strict.
Sure, everyone understands that China doesn't want you to bring opium into the country. But they also prohibit “anything detrimental to China’s politics, economy, culture or moral standards, including printed material, film negatives, photos, records, movies, tape recordings, videotapes, optical discs and other items.”
This is the kind of thing Chinese citizens are subject to all the time. Heck, even the internet, which to most people represents ultimate freedom of information, is censored in China (an example of the censorship).
Little reminders like this make me feel lucky to live in the United States, and inspire me to take action to help reform China's regulations.
Some organizations working for freedom of information in China or with resources about the problem:
- Amnesty International on China
- Global Voices Advocacy
- Chinh's News
- Gabriel Real World News
- Chinese Internet Censorship from the CyberCrimes Blog
Related Posts: An Olympic Debate; Earthquake in China; Global Volunteering; Tornadoes, Cyclones, and Disaster Relief ; Champions of a Cause
Photo courtesy of StuckinCustoms.com's series "Back Streets of Beijing."
Thanks to Krystle for the article idea!