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HK rights protesters plan anti-China protests
AFP[Friday, August 08, 2008 20:34]
by Polly Hui*

Two days before the Beijing Games, Christina Chan is planning how to get around Hong Kong's Olympic security so she can make her point about China's human rights record.

"I bought my ticket for the games this Saturday so there is no way they can stop me from getting inside," she said.

Chan, 21, said she is prepared to risk arrest to remind spectators at the equestrian events being held in Hong Kong of the plight of the people in Tibet, where riots against Chinese rule erupted in March.

She also wanted to highlight official measures to "beautify" the capital for the Games, which she said had destroyed its architectural heritage.

"The spectators should understand that there is nothing to rejoice about before China learns to respect these people's rights," she said.

Chan is Hong Kong's most famous female protester after staging a pro-Tibet demonstration during the city's leg of the Olympic torch relay in May.

She says her fame has become an obstacle to her plans for protest.

About 16,000 spectators are expected each day at the August 9-21 equestrian events, which are being held in Hong Kong because Beijing could not guarantee a disease-free environment for the 225 horses, and to defray the cost, of over 100 million US dollars, to the local Jockey Club.

Under the Olympic charter local organisers will enforce a ban on displaying national flags, including the Tibetan flag, or political slogans though organisers and police have no power to arrest or prosecute violators, rather than simply escort them from the venues.

Chan said she would avoid official "protest zones" because they were too far from venues to catch ticket-holders' attention.

Like Chan, Szeto Wah, 77, chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said he saw nothing to celebrate in Beijing's Olympic.

"The Beijing Olympics is just meaningless to me if China does not improve its human rights record," he said. "It is sad to see that not only has there been no improvement, the authorities have intensified its crackdown on activists in recent months."

His alliance, one of Hong Kong's largest pro-democracy groups, would hold protests tomorrow and Saturday outside the competition venues, he said.

"Our message is clear: one world, one dream, and one standard for universal human rights," he said, using the Beijing's Olympic slogan.
"We demand the release of political dissents in China and the vindication for those who were massacred in Tiananmen Square."

He said his group would distribute leaflets to overseas spectators to remind them of the massacre, which left hundreds, possibly thousands, dead as they were killed in Beijing by troops sent in to end weeks of peaceful protests in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

A spokesman for Falun Gong spiritual movement that is banned in China said the group had no protest plans, as did some international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International.
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