Beijing’s Genocide Olympics

December 11, 2007 at 4:49 pm (Africa)

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ANTI-GENOCIDE CAMPAIGNERS have called for sponsors of the Beijing Olympic Games to withdraw their support, citing that the Chinese Government is contributing towards the current atrocities in Darfur.

Darfur activists gathered at an eleven hour summit in London on December 2 to celebrate Darfuri culture and highlight what can be done to ease the crisis hit region.

Hundreds of people attended ‘Act for Darfur – The 11th Hour’, which included performances, films, exhibitions, testimonials, music, discussions, speakers and workshops spread throughout the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.

Hollywood actress and devout activist, Mia Farrow, joined guests and artists from Darfur and delivered the keynote address to a packed theatre. After highlighting the dire situation in Darfur, she focused on the position of China, hosts of what she dubbed the ‘Genocide Olympics’.

“As Khartoum’s largest and closest business partner, China has provoked outrage from the international community for underwriting genocide in Darfur. In recent months, Beijing has responded with steadily increasing talk about its commitment to promoting peace in the region. But it has taken no meaningful action,” she said.

Farrow supports the Dream for Darfur campaign, linking China’s Olympics to the ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Speaking on behalf of the US organisation, Farrow urged sponsors such as Adidas, Visa and Coca-Cola to back out: “Sponsors are supporting China’s efforts to position itself in glowing terms on the world stage. But they are silent about China’s role in the Darfur genocide, and in their silence, they are complicit.”

China, which is the biggest buyer of Sudan’s oil, has consistently rejected accusations it is worsening Darfur’s agony by supporting the Sudanese government. A representative from the Chinese Embassy in London said: “China plays a constructive role in the Darfur issue and this role can be seen by all.”

On July 31 this year, China took a step forward by joining a UN Security Council vote to authorize, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, the deployment of 26,000 civilian police and troops to Darfur.

22-year old, Emile James, a student from South London who attended the London event said: “Despite claims by China and Sudan that the situation in Darfur is improving, the evidence I have seen here today presents a very different picture. I think it’s wrong that a country that has such a tentative human rights record and faces such damaging accusations should be allowed to host the Olympics.”

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