Olympic Games: China

Olympics written question – answered on 30th April 2008.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

To ask the Minister for the Olympics what recent representations the Government has made to the International Olympic Committee on China's commitments relating to improvements in human rights and democracy with regard to the hosting of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Olympics and Paymaster General)

The Government's priority is to raise human rights concerns directly with the Chinese Government, both bilaterally and through the European Union, not through the IOC. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary discussed human rights during their respective visits to China in January and February. I raised human rights, and, in particular, media freedom during my visit to China in November 2007, and during Chinese Vice Minister Cai Mingzhao's visit to the UK in March 2008.

When I visited China in September 2006, I strongly encouraged the Chinese Government to consider a liberalisation of media regulations. On 1 January 2007 the Chinese Government temporarily lifted restrictions on travel and the requirement to seek official permission for interviews for foreign journalists, up to and during the 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. We hope these regulations will be fully implemented in all regions and that they will remain in place after the games and be extended to China's domestic journalists. We have urged China to consider this.

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