Hong Kong Legislative Council member Martin Lee wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling on the U.S. to pressure China on human rights issues in the run-up to the Olympics. ESWN has reposted the full essay, followed by articles about protesters who gathered outside the LegCo offices to call Lee a “running dog”. From Lee’s article:
In accepting the invitation to attend China’s Games, President Bush said this would be “a moment where China’s leaders can use the opportunity to show confidence by demonstrating a commitment to greater openness and tolerance.” Instead of a “moment” of change, China needs structural and long-term reforms: placing the Communist Party under the rule of law, unshackling the media and Internet, allowing religious adherents to freely practice their faiths, ceasing harassment of civil-society groups that work on AIDS and the environment, and addressing modest calls for accountability in the political system. Mr. Bush and other world leaders planning to attend the Olympics should not wait for the opening ceremony, but must start now with sustained efforts to achieve this agenda.
One reason for optimism about the possibilities for progress in China is recent Olympic history. When South Korea bid for the 1988 Games, the country was a military dictatorship. Due in good part to the prospects for embarrassment and international engagement, the Olympics helped kick off an overdue peaceful political transformation in South Korea just six months before the launch of the Seoul Games. Since then, South Korea has endured as one of Asia’s most stable and vital democracies. The parallels between South Korea and China are not exact, but the lesson is that the Olympics certainly present an opening to raise these issues in the context of the Chinese government’s own promises. [Full text]