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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Czechs to join call for Chinese political prisoners adoption

August 3, 2008

CTK (Czech Republic)
August 1, 2008

Prague -- The Olympic Watch humanitarian organisation that criticises
China for non-observance of human rights, called on national Olympic
teams to "adopt" Chinese political prisoners and recommended that the
Czech national team adopt Tibetan spiritual leader Khenchen Thranru Rimpoche.

Khenchen Thranru Rimpoche was first sentenced to death but later his
death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Czech Olympic Committee spokesman Jan Martinek told CTK today that in
the committee's opinion, it is up to individual Czech athletes to
decide directly in China whether to support concrete prisoners.

According to Olympic Watch, the symbolic adoption is to be in the
form of support.

The information about the campaign that was launched today can be
found on www.adopt2008.org.

"The initiators of the campaign have proposed that the national
Olympic teams select a suitable form of support directly on the spot,
for instance, enquiring of the Chinese hosts about the case, visits
to prison or public dedication of their medals or sports achievements
to the imprisoned fighters for human rights," Petr Kutilek from
Olympic Watch told today.

For instance, it has proposed to the American team to support
journalist Shi Tao, to the French team it has proposed Internet
activist Hu Jia and to the German team it has proposed to support the
Tiananmen Mothers leader, Ding Zilin.

The activists say that they would gradually publish the names of
other Chinese human rights protectors on the Internet who are
allegedly persecuted contrary to the promises by the Beijing Olympic
Games organisers to improve the state of human rights in the country.

One week before the start of the Olympics, Olympic Watch called,
apart from athletes, also on Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to
support Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

CTK has failed to obtain Topolanek's reaction.

The Chinese diplomacy complained at the Czech Foreign Ministry in
recent days that Topolanek wore a Tibetan flag on the lapel of his
coat at the time when he was announcing his visit to the Chinese
Olympic Games at a press conference.

Olympic Watch is an organisation that was established in 2001 in
reaction to the decision to hold the summer Olympic Games in China.

Its mission is to monitor the situation in the human rights area.

On Thursday the organisation informed that 17 Czech and foreign
personalities, including former Czech president Vaclav Havel and
Czech government members, called on the International Olympic
Committee to ensure the full freedom of information in Beijing.

The open letter was signed, among others, by south African Nobel
Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and Chinese pro-democracy activist
Wei Jingsheng.
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