June 17, 2008

Raising awareness of human rights in China's Olympic year

Source: NYSUT News Wire
Caption: A number of Chinese political activists are the focus of a new special calendar as a reminder of China's refusal to respect internationally recognized workers rights. You can download or order the calendar on the Olympic awareness Web site produced by the group Human Rights in China at ir2008.org/2008calendar.

labor activist yao fuxinHis name is Yao Fuxin, a 57-year-old labor activist imprisoned by the Chinese government for "subversion." Sentenced in May 2003, he was given 7-years behind bars for leading a peaceful worker demonstration, organized to protest corruption and demand a basic living wage.

Inside the People's Republican of China, stories like Fuxin's are hardly rare. Lawyers, journalists, ethnic minorities, artists, workers and religious practitioners are routinely stripped of their freedom and imprisoned by the government simply for exercising their basic, human rights.

Since the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre - during which hundreds of dissidents seeking political freedom were killed by the Chinese government - China's abuses have weighed heavily on the world's collective mind. Now, with Beijing set to play host to the 2008 Summer Olympics, there is new focus on human-rights violations inside the PRC.

The watchdog group Human Rights in China, in an effort to raise awareness of political prisoners such as Fuxin, has kicked off a campaign that, each month, will highlight a person imprisoned inside the PRC. Called 'Incorporating Responsibility 2008,' the campaign includes a Web site at www.ir2008.org, where people can learn more about Fuxin and others now imprisoned by China's government.

You can also download or order a special calendar promoting human rights awareness at ir2008.org/2008calendar.