China Wins Gold Metal For Worker Repression
China, the host of the 2008 summer Olympics, deserves a gold medal for its repression of labor activists,
including Yao Fuxin who remains imprisoned for his worker advocacy, Labor Rights Now President Don Stillman said.
In a letter to the International Olympic Committee, Stillman urged IOC President Jacques Rogge to appoint a blue-ribbon commission
to go to China to examine the failure of China to honor its promises to improve its human rights record.
"In 2001, I warned Hein Verbruggen, who chaired the IOC evaluation commission, that the Beijing application to host the Olympics
should be rejected because of China's widespread repression of internationally recognized worker rights," Stillman said. "Instead of improving its
human rights record, things have gotten worse in China."
Stillman cited the arrest in 2002 of Yao Fuxin and others for leading peaceful protests of laid-off worker and retirees in Liaoyang
in northeastern China over the failure of their employer to pay wages and benefits owed them.
"I ask that the International Olympic Committee press the Chinese government for the release of Yao Fuxin and other imprisoned worker
activists," Stillman said in the letter to Jacques Rogge.
Yao was convicted by the Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court in 2003 and given a seven-year prison sentence for his labor advocacy.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has called for Yao's release, as have top U.S. union leaders, including SEIU President Andy Stern,
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.
"Some argue that Olympic competition should occur without regard to the world's political problems," Stillman said. "That was the wrong
approach in 1936 when Jesse Owens' magnificent performance won Gold in Berlin. And the idea that the Beijing Olympics should go forward without regard to
China's abuses of labor and human rights is also wrong today."
The Labor Rights Now president emphasized that the concern is not with the Chinese people, who deserve to host the Olympics, but with
the Chinese government that fails to provide its citizens with basic rights enjoyed in democracies around the world.
Repression Is Not An Olympic Sport
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ignored labor and human rights abuses in China and awarded the 2008
Olympics to Beijing.
Labor Rights Now pledges to heat up the campaign for the release of China's jailed labor activists!
"Hundreds of worker activists are imprisoned in China for exercising internationally recognized labor rights. It was our
hope that all, or at least some, of these incarcerated worker activists would be released as a symbol of China's willingness to improve their record
on human and labor rights. Instead, the Chinese government has flaunted its ongoing violations of labor and human rights."
The late UAW President Stephen P. Yokich
The UAW and Labor Rights Now! is demanding that the Chinese government recognize labor and human rights and release all worker
activists imprisoned for exercising international labor rights.
• The late UAW President Stephen
P. Yokich letter demands that the IOC press the issue of labor and human rights with the Chinese government before granting 2008 Olympics
• UAW urges IOC Evaluation Commission Chairman Hein Verbruggen to
press cases of jailed labor activists during visit to Beijing.