Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-07-05-Speech-4-140"
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substitute; Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy (2001-01-15--2002-01-14)3
"Mr President, if the huge sports festival of the Olympic Games is to be celebrated somewhere, then there has to be a cause for celebration. That is not the case in China. The human rights situation has not improved since the start of the political dialogue with the European Union. Quite the contrary, in fact. The regime’s repression of political opponents carries on undiminished. Dissidents often disappear behind bars for a ridiculously long period of time. On a large scale, offenders are given the death penalty after a very brief trial. The Chinese leaders are extremely frightened of the peaceful, religious movement, Falun Gong. Followers of this movement are arrested, tortured, admitted to psychiatric hospitals or executed at random. Recently, another 15 women were tortured to death in a labour camp. Tibet is being systematically stripped of its own character. The environmental and animal welfare situation is atrocious. It is extremely naive to assume that large, international sports events and politics can be kept separate. The history of the modern Olympic Games shows very clearly how the sports festival can be used to enhance the glory of a political regime. The global media attention will only exacerbate this potential. Especially states which could do with a complete make-over of their international reputation will seize the opportunity of setting a new Olympic record in exploiting this event politically. The Chinese population will derive little pleasure from the Games. The Games cost approximately USD 20 billion, and part of Beijing will need to be flattened and the inhabitants driven out of the city. Economic ties between China and the world will also mean that liberal values and standards could enter the country. That is why there is hope. More welfare will ultimately lead to more political freedom. The Chinese are a patient people. In order to organise the Games, they have to practice patience and ensure that China has something to celebrate."@en1
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