(U-WIRE) NORMAN, Okla. – In the late days of the Cultural Revolution in 1968, a Chinese intellectual named Zhang Zhixin was imprisoned for criticizing the policies of the Chinese Communist Party.
Over the next six years, she was regularly stripped naked with her hands handcuffed behind her back and gang raped by the male prisoners and guards.
The day before her execution, the prison guards — without bothering to use anesthesia — cut her throat and inserted a plastic tube into her trachea to prevent her from speaking.
She was killed by a firing squad the next day, and her corpse was decapitated in order to hide the evidence.
Considering this infamous act has yet to be investigated or renounced by CCP authorities, the selection of the People’s Republic of China as the host for the 2008 Olympics will, perhaps, be remembered as one of the great ironies of the 21st century.
Paragraph two of the Olympic Charter reads: “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
Evidently, this “respect for universal principles” didn’t factor into the International Olympic Committee’s decision to legitimize the PRC’s systematic human rights violations.
With the Olympics only nine months away, numerous international organizations have been using China’s moment in the spotlight to emphasize its most egregious abuses.
I have yet to notice any movements on campus planning to take advantage of this opportunity to force the PRC to abide by those “fundamental ethical principles” of which it is apparently a “good example.”
This is unfortunate, because in China there’s something for everyone to protest.
Organizations such as Amnesty International, Our Earth, Students for Action in Darfur and Christians on Campus should all have something to say about the PRC’s dismal record in their respective areas of involvement.
Human-rights advocates should protest China’s ruthless suppression of dissidents who are often arrested and imprisoned without trial.
Torture is “still widespread,” according to U.N. reporter on torture Manfred Nowak, most often by electric batons, cigarette burns or submersion in sewage to elicit a confession.
Reporters Without Borders, a press freedom group, ranked China 163rd out of 167 countries on its “global press freedom index.”
Christians — or anyone with a silly romantic notion of “religious freedom” — should protest the PRC’s poor treatment of those Christian “House Churches” that dare to exist independently of the state.
Practitioners of Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Uyghurs and underground Christians often find themselves subjected to prison sentences and “reeducation through labor” camps.
China’s environmental record is as appalling as its human rights — so bad, in fact, many countries participating in the Olympics fear sending their athletes into such a polluted atmosphere.
All of China’s rivers are polluted to some degree, and the country has recently been named the number emitter of carbon dioxide by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, surpassing the United States by eight percent.
Numerous acts of environmental degradation in Tibet are resulting in desertification, deforestation and the endangerment of several rare plant and animal species.
The PRC even has a hand in the genocide in Darfur.
Over the last 10 years, China has provided the Sudan with $10 billion in commercial and capital investments — it is, in fact, China’s primary source of offshore oil production — as well as weapons and technology, much of which has been used against the people of Darfur.
The PRC abstained from the U.N. Security Council vote on Resolution 1706, demanding that Khartoum’s consent be obtained before action was taken against the genocide.
“Dissent” contributor Eric Reeves writes “the result of this language was to confer upon Khartoum’s genocidaires veto power over deployment of a U.N. force charged with halting the genocide.”
The CCP’s reasoning is obvious enough: if it permits the violation of Sudan’s national sovereignty in the name of human rights, it will probably find its own sovereignty violated some day.
Based on this abysmal record, every humanitarian, environmental, political or religious group on campus should be eager to stick it to the CCP.
Money and power make the world go around, and both will be needed if this historic opportunity to end China’s human rights violations isn’t to be wasted.