Sunday, July 22, 2007

Boycott China Olympics Over North Korea Refugee Repatriation

US human rights activists urged people not to travel to Beijing to see the 2008 Olympics unless China grants the UN refugee agency access to North Koreans hiding in its territory.

The religious and civic activists also said international media outlets should limit coverage to sporting events as part of the effort to deny China publicity.

They demanded the United States keep the issue of human rights in North Korea high on the agenda in six-party talks to end the communist North’s nuclear weapons programme.

"The message is very simple: China, if you want to host the 2008 Olympic Games, stop the persecution of the North Korean refugees," Sam Kim, executive director of the Korean Church Coalition, said at a news conference.

The coalition, which will unveil similar drives in Japan and South Korea next month to publicise the plight of North Korean refugees, proposes that athletes compete in the Beijing Olympics, but that spectators shun the games.

The activists said they want to force Beijing to live up to its obligations as a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees.


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