A leading Chinese dissident called on Congress yesterday to lead an international boycott of the upcoming Beijing Olympics because of China's human rights abuses and support for rogue regimes.
Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer under house arrest in China, wrote in a Sept. 13 letter to Congress made public yesterday that "more and more Chinese people are speaking out against the coming Olympic Games in China, which they often refer to as 'the bloody Olympics,' and 'the handcuff Olympics.' "
Mr. Gao was scheduled to speak by telephone from China to a Capitol Hill press conference, but the phone connection could not be made. He was arrested last month and imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities who forced him to renounce his legal activism, which he later repudiated, David Kilgour, a member of the Canadian Parliament, told reporters.
Mr. Gao's 16-page letter was released at the Capitol Hill conference hosted by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The regime in Beijing, rather than seeing the approach of the Olympics as a time for greater openness, sees it as a mandate for further control and repression of the Chinese people," Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen said.
"The Beijing regime seeks only a propaganda victory," she said. "We cannot and must not provide it with such a victory."
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, are co-sponsoring a resolution calling for a U.S. boycott of the Olympics unless China halts its human rights abuses.
Mr. Gao stated in his letter that Chinese authorities recently began a widespread crackdown on the Chinese people as part of preparation for the August 2008 games. He said China today is facing a "human rights disaster" because of the repression.
"Under the name of securing a success of the Olympic games, all kinds of evils have been committed in broad daylight, including forced eviction, illegal arresting and persecution people who are petitioning authorities, and suppression of religious people," he said.
Mr. Gao said the ruling Communist Party of China (CCP) is using the Games to gain legitimacy, despite its past and current history of repression. As many as 80 million Chinese died under the communist system in China in what Mr. Gao called "crimes against humanity."
"Today the CCP is expanding its moral corruption strategy to the whole world," Mr. Gao said. "If the Olympics are held by the CCP, it will mean the success of the CCP's global moral corruption."
Mr. Kilgour recently investigated China's repression of the Falun Gong religious group, including what he called the "horrible" practice of harvesting body organs from imprisoned members of the Buddhist-oriented group that is opposing communist rule in China.
Edward McMillan-Scott, European Union parliament vice president, said by telephone from Europe that all nations and their leaders should boycott the 2008 Olympics because of Beijing's support for genocide in Darfur, and its repression of Tibetan Buddhists, Xinjiang Uighurs, Chinese journalists and human rights and legal rights activists like Mr. Gao.