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[Washington Babylon]

Olympic Protests: Another Triumph for Jacques Rogge’s “Silent Diplomacy”


Ever since Beijing was awarded the right to host the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee has been talking about the beneficial impact this would have on human rights in China. Back in March, IOC president Jacques Rogge said he was engaged in “silent diplomacy” with China on human rights issues, and that “the games will be a catalyst for change and will open a country which used to be mysterious to much of the world.”

One of the promises the Chinese government made to the IOC was that it would allow protests during the games, in officially approved zones. How has that worked out?

Here’s the result of Rogge’s “silent diplomacy,” from the New York Times:

Ten days into the Games, the government has yet to permit a single demonstration in any of the three official protest zones. According to a report Monday by Xinhua, the official news agency, 77 applications have been received since Aug. 1, from 149 people.

All but three of those applications, however, were withdrawn after the authorities satisfactorily addressed the petitioners’ concerns, Xinhua said. Two of the remaining requests were turned down because the applicants failed to provide adequate information, and the last was rejected after the authorities determined it violated China’s laws on demonstrations.

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