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Security in Beijing 2008 and Beyond

June 4, 2008

In the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics, HRIC has been monitoring key aspects of preparationsfor the Beijing Games, including sponsorships, venue construction and the Chinese government's commitments as host of the Games. This update focuses on security preparations for the Olympics, with an emphasis on the use of advanced technology to secure Beijing and the Games. It also examines human rights concerns raised by the installation of this sophisticated security apparatus. Finally, this update explores the role of international corporations in security preparations, and presents available informationabout contracts that have already been reached.

Shopping for the Holidays, Shopping at the Olympics: Who Pays the Price?

December 1, 2007

For holiday shoppers, the "Made in China" label has taken on new meaning this year. Reports of lead-coated toys, poisoned toothpaste, and tainted seafood imported from China remain fresh on the minds of consumers everywhere. Chinese authorities are determined to restore consumer confidence in Chinese manufactured goods, but in fact may find this easier than expected: despite the uproar over dangerous toys and products, Chinese exports continue to expand.In short, the price is right: consumers' demand for low prices at their local big-box retailer and increasing global competition continue to drivemanufacturing to China, in spite of the social costs. This IR2008 update focuses on the labor rights violations and regulatory failures that are at the root of recent recalls of Chinese-manufactured goods -- and that are relevant concerns for the massive Olympics merchandise market. This update also identifies actions different actors can take to expand protections for workers and consumers, in China and abroad, in the run up to theOlympics and beyond.

Take Action: 2008 and Beyond

September 21, 2007

The Organizing Committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games issued the "Beijing Olympic Action Plan," which laid out guiding principles and a series of promises as part of Beijing's preparations to be host city.In 2003,Human Rights in China (HRIC) launched the Incorporating Responsibility 2008 Campaign to encourage Beijing to keep these promises.HRIC issued an initial assessment of Beijing's progress in a 2005 report entitled "Promises, Promises." This update focuses on what has happened over the past two years and what remains to be done before the Games open in August of 2008.

Where is the "Frugal Olympics"?

September 21, 2007

The one-year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and its media fanfare have come and gone, leaving behind persistent calls for an "economical and practical" Olympics to counteract perceived waste and excess in preparing for the Games. Increasingly, in the past few years, such sentiments have found their way onto the Internet, in blogs, discussion forums and local papers as a full accounting of the spending on various Olympic constructions and events has yet to be fully disclosed to the public.Similar to the open letter "OneWorld,One Dream and Universal Human Rights" from 40 Chinese academics, writers and human rights activists, these sentiments against an extravagant and wasteful Olympics provide another perspective often hidden from themedia glare aimed at festivities and publicity campaigns. This HRIC Issues Brief provides a sample of the range and diversity of these critical views on the Beijing Olympic Games expressed by Chinese Netizens on general blogs and Internet discussion and news forums.

FAQ: Reporting During the Olympics

June 30, 2007

An FAQ for foreign journalists operating in China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Packaging China for the Olympics

March 23, 2007

In order to put on the show known as the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the governmenthas enlisted the help of major foreign players to "package" China. Public relations and marketing firms are helping to present and brand Beijing for the Games, while legal firms have been hired by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) to protect their intellectual property. Following previous IR2008 updates covering the involvement of foreign companies as Olympic sponsors and partners, this update focuses on PR and legal services.Aside from bringing in foreign expertise, the Beijing government has also initiated large-scale campaigns to improve Beijing's image for the Games, including initiatives to encourage residents to clean up their manners. The Games are expected to draw 800,000 foreign visitors and one million domestic visitors to Beijing,3 making presentation, marketing and branding key goals for Chinese officials in anticipation of 2008.

Maximizing the Impact of CSR in China

October 6, 2006

The past five years have seen a growing number of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conferences in China, increasing participation by Chinese businesses in international multi-stakeholder processes, and the development of China-specific CSR standards.The launch of the Global Compact's China network in 2001 in particular signals a growing willingness among Chinese business and government actors to engage international values on the environment, human rights, labor rights and transparency. Although CSR is currently the focus of mainly corporate, government and international policy actors, this growing interest in CSR activities, and references to international economic and social, as well as civil and political human rights standards in CSR debates and discussion, may suggest some openings for advancing human rights concerns. What CSR may offer China, therefore, may be the opportunity not only to raise the awareness of local businesses of international CSR business practice, but also to reinforce protection of human rights in China, and create greater room for local actors working on rights defense (weiquan) and human rights issues. This IR 2008 update will examine the recent development of CSR in China and its relationship to Olympic Games preparations, as well as the challenges and opportunitythat the popularity of CSR presents for expanding civil space for promotion of human right-related issues.

Unshackle the Internet: Independent Voices and the Role of Foreign Internet Companies Operating in China

April 12, 2006

Advances in information technology have the potential to empower individuals globally and to serve as a force for democratization. The number of Internet users in mainland China continues to increase at a phenomenal rate. From 1998 to 2005, China's online population grew from 1.17 million to 103 million, with the most recent official count in January 2006 at approximately 110 million.In China, the Internet has become an increasingly important tool for empowering Chinese activists, journalists, rights defenders, intellectuals and grassroots groups by providing increased access to information as well as a virtual commons for the exchange of ideas between groups and individuals.However, technology and control of the Internet have also been utilized by the Chinese government to implement censorship, surveillance and social and political control.In the last several months, as foreign IT companies have come under media and U.S. government scrutiny, HRIC has been actively monitoring the human rights impact of their activities and developing suggestions for implementing the human rights responsibilities of foreign-based IT companies operating in China.

Promises, Promises

March 17, 2005

As host of the Olympic Games, China seeks to increase national economic and socialdevelopment and "display to the world a new image of China", and presents the Games as an opportunity to foster democracy, improve human rights and integrate China with the rest of the world. In its Olympic Action Plan promulgated in 2002, China outlined the phases of construction in the run up to the 2008 Games, and the standards to which it would hold itself in the governance and construction of venues, impact on Beijing's environment, increasing social and economic development and providing China's citizenry with greater access to information and technology.The goals and specific commitments that the government has adopted not only have implications for the smooth and successfuloperation of the Olympic Games, but also have the potential to impact on a number of China's international obligations, including its human rights obligations.Despite human rights-related commitments as diverse as transparency and accountability, access to information and freedom of the press, poverty alleviation, an improved standard of living for all people, and compensation for evictions and health issues, the record to date raises serious compliance issues.