Archive for the ‘Beijing Summer Games’ Category

Beijing’s Massive Pre-Olympic People Relocation, Home Demolition a Human Rights Issue

April 27, 2008

John E, Carey
Peace and Freedom

Before the start of the Olympics, communist leaders in Beijing announced a plan to remove from the city the hordes of vagrants, homeless people and orphaned children who live on Beijing’s streets. Some estimate that as many as 2 million orphaned or homeless children alone live in Beijing.

The program is designed to make sure Westerners like you and me see the best of Beijing – even if that is only a temporary and false façade. TV viewers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and places like Japan can expect to see a completely sanitized Beijing this August.

Human rights groups are asking: “Where are they going and how are they getting there?”

China remains silent.  The removal and relocation of people from Beijing for the Olympics is shrouded in secrecy.
A group of slave laborers rescued from a brick kiln in Linfen, northern China's Shanxi province, in late May stand outside a police station. About 550 slave laborers have been freed from various brick kilns and mines in central China in the past month.
Last year, Western media discovered slaves working in China’s mines.  Many were young boys with no rights and miserable living conditions. Above: Slaves released in China after more than a year of forced labor.

Then there is the government removing homes and creating homeless — with little warning and little compensation.

The Washington Post reported in a long story by Jill Drew on Saturday April 26, 2008, that communist leaders in Beijing are buying up at below market value all the villagers’ houses near the Olympic venues.  As soon as the people vacate; their former homes are bulldozed into oblivion. 

“Su, Wang and another neighbor were the last three holdouts to fight for their families’ homes against developers who own rights to this land, just across the street from the main Olympic park in Beijing. The three have now been forced to join the thousands of people — housing advocates say hundreds of thousands — whose homes have been plowed under in the rush of Olympics-related construction over the past seven years,” wrote Ms. Drew.
A haze of pollution hangs over China's National Stadium, known as the bird's nest, the main venue for the Beijing Olympics beginning Aug. 8.
A haze of pollution hangs over China’s National Stadium, known as the bird’s nest, the main venue for the Beijing Olympics beginning Aug. 8. Many of the homes in the area of the stadium have been bulldozed away and no longer exist. (By Greg Baker – Associated Press)

“Less than four months before the Summer Games open, the forced relocations in Beijing are highlighting another cost of the Olympics, as residents make way for such architectural glories as the National Stadium, known as the bird’s nest, and the apartment and office towers springing up nearby,” Ms. Drew reported for the Post. “Whole neighborhoods have been wiped out. Especially controversial has been the destruction of about 800 of the city’s 1,200 hutongs, lanes full of traditional, courtyard-style houses.”

“You can never win when you sue the government,” said Su.  Meaning you can never stay and you can never recoup the full value of your home.

Beijing is being remade for you and me and other TV viewers and Olympic tourists.  But there is a price; a toll that can only be measured in human suffering.  Because China is a communist holdout, the people have no rights and no voice.  The government is free to abuse its own population.  That’s always a prescription for abuses: and today in Beijing a blind man can see that the displaced, poor and “without voice” are powerless to resist their communist government….

China, Pollution and the Olympics

October 16, 2007

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, October 16, 2007; Page A01

BEIJING — In summer, a gray industrial haze coats this city of more than 15 million, descending over the Great Wall, sticking to humid hillsides and obscuring skyscrapers. Soaring temperatures and a lack of wind conspire with gunk-spewing traffic to foul the air.

The pollution is so bad many visitors are wondering how Olympic athletes will be affected and how this city can possibly be ready to host them in less than 10 months.

Beijing is rushing to make its air clean for the 2008 Olympics, but experts say it will be impossible for the site to be totally safe for athletes at the global sporting event.

Above: A beautiful, sunny morning near Beijing.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/15/AR2007101501767.html