Did the Games Improve Rights in China?

The BBC looks at whether the Olympics had the positive impact on the rights situation in China that many observers hoped for:

The immediate impact was both positive and negative.

On the plus side, tough restrictions on foreign journalists were lifted in the run-up to and during the Games, giving much greater media access. (Those more liberal rules expire in October and an important question is whether they are renewed.)

Also, the looming Games made China more sensitive than usual to international criticism. That eagerness for the Games not to be “spoiled” may have contributed to progress in other, more general, areas.

[…] But there were obvious negatives. The forced evictions which made the Olympic construction possible. The bolstering of security forces throughout the country and especially in Beijing.

The pressure on dozens of activists, who, according to reports, were forced to leave Beijing for the summer, confined to their homes or even arrested as part of the general suppression of dissent.


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