o l y m p i c s


On July 13th, 2001, China was awarded the 2008 Summer Games by members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Though China may have won the battle for their contentious bid, they certainly have not won the war! Tibetans and supporters around the world are raising pressure on the IOC and Beijing, and have made their presence known at the Athens Games. We now have four years to place intense scrutiny on Beijing's human rights abuses and brutal occupation of Tibet, and work towards our ultimate goal of freeing Tibet.

With a slogan of "New Beijing, Great Olympics", China hoped to overcome international concern about their human rights abuses in China and Tibet that cost them the bid for the 2000 Olympics. By granting China these Games, the IOC put their international stamp of approval on China's military occupation of Tibet. We join people of conscience around the world in opposing any Olympic Games in China until Tibet is free.

In 2004 in Athens, Tibetans and supporters raised a huge banner in front of the Acropolis, stating "China plays games with human rights." During the women's 10m platform diving final, Tibetans raised a red Chinese flag-inspired banner that read "Free Tibet" in Chinese characters. The banner was quite visible during the medal ceremony, and sources inside China have said that it was broadcast on Chinese TV. At the closing ceremonies, Tibetans and supporters, including many high-profile Chinese dissidents, asked the audience to turn their backs during the passing of the Olympic flag to China. Outside the main stadium, six Tibetans were halted by police after trying to deliver messages to IOC officials. In Beijing, a day after the Olympic flag was passed to China, two activists from America and Australia were detained after unfurling a banner in the Ethnic Minorities Park, part of the 2008 Olympic Complex already under construction. We applaud everyone who took part in these actions for their courage, and join them in saying to Beijing, NO OLYMPICS FOR CHINA UNTIL TIBET IS FREE!

For more information and continued updates, please visit 2008-freetibet.org , the official website of the coalition opposing the Beijing Games, of which USTC is a member.


  1. If you know any Olympic Athletes, educate them about this issue. Their voices can be very influential in accomplishing our goals. Contact us if you would like any help or further info.
  2. Send a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge, and tell him why you think the IOC should closely monitor the human rights situation in China, and if found that the government is not up to par, why you think Beijing should be disqualified from hosting the Games. Click here for contact info and a sample letter.
  3. Visit 2008-freetibet.org to send web letters to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Jacques Rogge


China continues to illegally occupy Tibet after half a century. They were officially awarded on July 13th, 2001 the 2008 Olympic Games, despite criticism from all over the globe in regard to their horrendous abuses of their own people and occupied minorities. The IOC has thus also granted people of conscience the spotlight to shine on every mistake the government makes from now until 2008. With this, we can finally reach our goal of a free Tibet, to unburden the Tibetan people of China's assault on their religion and culture. This approval from countries all over the world does not deem the Olympics to be a distinction--indeed, it will serve as a beacon to those appalled by China's treatment of the individual to accelerate the process towards freedom. Until China's government withdraws from Tibet and begins to respect the rights of its own people, it does not deserve the international distinction of hosting the Olympic games.

Giving Beijing the 2008 Games sent a message that human rights in Tibet and China no longer mattered. China's bid for the 2000 games was defeated because of human rights concerns. Since that time, persecution in Tibet has drastically worsened, as has religious repression in China.

Money raised from the Olympics will be used to fund China's control over Tibet. The Olympics will put billions of foreign dollars in the pocket of the Chinese government. During the recent Sydney Olympics, Australia went from a trade deficit of $1.5 billion to a surplus of $677 million.

Hosting the Olympics will help China whitewash its image without actually changing its human rights practices. The President of the International Triathlon Union told Beijing, "You've got to find a way of marketing bloody Tiananmen Square so that the only image they have isn't a... tank with a university student." In order to erase memories of the massacre in Tiananmen Square, the government plans to hold the beach volleyball championship there.

The Chinese Government really wants these Games to be a success. By using the Olympic Games as a spotlight, we hold China accountable for its occupation of Tibet. In this way, we use international pressure to force the Chinese government to FREE TIBET, and give them a reason to improve their treatment of people in both China and Tibet.

Q & A

China is the most populous country on earth, and has many excellent athletes compete in the Games. Don't the Chinese people deserve the Olympics?
The Chinese people deserve to host the Olympics, but more importantly, they deserve respect for basic human rights and political freedoms. We are not opposed to China hosting the Olympics; we are opposed to China hosting the Olympics while they continue to occupy Tibet and ignore human rights.

What do the Olympics have to do with politics? Aren't they meant to bridge political divisions?
The Olympics are meant to be a tool for "world peace through sport." For more than thirty years, South Africa was banned from even participating in the Olympics because of the racist system of apartheid. Giving China the distinction of hosting the Games while its government commits genocide in Tibet and violates the rights of its own people would send a clear message that the international community is not concerned about oppression in China and Tibet.

How can we improve conditions in China and Tibet if we don't engage the Chinese government?
Appeasing another is not really engaging them. This form of 'engagement' has not worked to improve human rights conditions in China or Tibet. Since Western governments began expanding trade relations with China while de-linking the issue of human rights from trade, religious repression has drastically worsened and China has refused all request to negotiate with the Dalai Lama.

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