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Following China's successful bid for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, both the Chinese authorities and International Olympic Games' officials pledged that the Beijing Olympic Games would be a catalyst for the improvement of human rights in China.

  • "By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help the development of human rights." Liu Jingmin, Vice President of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee, April 2001

  • "It will help promote all economic and social projects and will also benefit the further development of our human rights cause." Liu Qi, the former Beijing Mayor & the current president of Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games, 13 July 2001.

  • "We are convinced that the Olympic Games will improve the human rights record in China", Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, April 2002.


The international community hoped that China's Olympic promise would end China's ongoing violation of fundamental human rights, including the use of forced labour, the denial of freedom of association and the denial of the right to collectively bargain. In particular, it was hoped that the significant number of labour activists who have been imprisoned for no other reason than trying to exercise basic workers' rights would be released.


What has really happened?

To date, China has failed to live up to its Olympic promise. Basic workers' rights continue to be violated and labour activists continue to be imprisoned. A significant number of labour activists remain in prison for their peaceful actions to defend labour rights. Some of these have been in prison since the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. In fact, ever since China's Olympic promise to improve human rights, more labour activists have been detained. Some have sentences extending well past ever the next Olympics in 2012.


Below is a letter to Hu Jintao, the Chinese President.

The letter asks for his intervention to secure the immediate release of all those currently detained for their peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of association

Please click here for the full list of detained labour activists.

SIGN the Letter

IHLO has highlighted four cases of workers and their supporters and produced a set of postcards to send on their behalf to the Chinese authorities. Click here for the PDF files of the postcards if you would like to take further action in support of individual prisoners.

Show China it cannot get away with breaking its Olympic promise.

Gao Hongning
Cha Jianguo
He Chaohui
Hu Shigen
Yao Fuxin
Li Wangyang
Ning Xianhau
Kong Youping
Hu Mingjun
Zhang Xiankuang
The ICFTU/GUF/HKCTU/HKTUC Hong Kong Liaison Office