Beijing says takes anti-discrimination pledge seriously
By Adam Rose
BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing takes seriously the Olympics anti-discrimination pledge it has signed in its bid to host the 2022 Winter Games, a senior official said on Tuesday, but denied knowledge of a recent crackdown on a prominent anti-discrimination group.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last year it would include human rights clauses in new contracts to be signed by future Olympic host cities, strengthening its anti-discrimination policy.
China has provided the IOC with "written assurances" of its respect for human rights as part of its bid to host the winter games in Beijing, an Olympic panel said in a report on Monday.
"We are absolutely anti-discrimination, that's without a doubt," Wang Hui, spokeswoman for the Beijing bid committee, told a news conference.
In March, Chinese police raided the office of a well-known non-governmental organization in Beijing called Yirenping, a group which works to banish gender, HIV and other forms of discrimination. The NGO had campaigned for the release of five women activists, who were detained in the same month. They were later released, but remain under close watch.
"I have never heard of the people or organizations you've mentioned," Wang said, when asked how the anti-discrimination pledge was compatible with the crackdown on Yirenping.
"You might be better informed than I am," she added. "I really don't know."
The five women activists were planning to demonstrate on March 8, International Women's Day, against sexual harassment on public transport when they were taken into custody. They were released after a vocal campaign against their detention by the West and Chinese rights activists. Continued...