Beijing Olympics, Source: BBC/APAmnesty International released a briefing about a week ago as an update to its previous reports (August 2005, September 2006) targeting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The briefing continues AI’s focuses on the death penalty, human rights defenders, media freedom, and Re-education Through Labor. It noted the progress in the recent reform of the death penalty system and the relaxing of restrictions to foreign journalists. However, domestic media and internet are increasingly censored while many human rights defenders are harassed, imprisoned or under house arrests.

A few days following the AI’s briefing release, the internet based group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders released a report, The Perils of Defending Rights as a summary of human rights defenders’ experiences in China in 2006. Meanwhile, the New York based Council on Foreign Relations put out a “backgrounder” covering some latest developments and international concerns for the Beijing Olympics.

Will all the attention bring positive change to any areas of human rights in China? I doubt it. China has gotten used to negative views on its country in the foreign media so it maintains as much control as possible on its domestic media in order to paint a pretty picture of itself and to promote its so-called “social harmony.” The power to significant change lies in the hands of politicians and business leaders who need to be educated on China’s deteriorating human rights more so than the general public. They should also be encouraged to raise their concerns with the Chinese authorities instead of just burying all the well-intended reports with other issues they choose to ignore.

Related news and links: