Olympics Commission says China promises to respect rights as part of 2022 bid

Mon Jun 1, 2015 12:20pm EDT
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By Megha Rajagopalan

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has assured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of its respect for human rights as part of its bid to host the 2022 Winter Games, an Olympic panel said on Monday, prompting anger from Tibetan groups.

The Olympic Evaluation Commission said in a report that China had provided "written assurances" of its commitment to press freedom, the right to demonstrate, labor rights and environmental protection in the context of the Games.

"The Commission is confident that the Government of China would take all necessary measures to ensure the Olympic Charter ... would be respected," the report said.

The charter says "social responsibility and universal fundamental ethical principles" are part of the philosophy of the Olympics.

Media and the internet are tightly controlled in China. Independent U.S.-based watchdog Freedom House says Beijing this year has further curbed political freedoms and civil liberties and has rejected judicial oversight of Communist Party actions.

"Harassment of previously tolerated civil society organizations, labor leaders, academics and state-sanctioned churches has intensified," it said.

When Beijing hosted the summer Olympic Games in 2008, rights groups criticized the government for forcibly relocating locals and cracking down on dissent.

China has long argued that it is unfairly singled out for criticism of its human rights record and says other governments should examine their own records before hurling accusations.   Continued...