Where to protest at the Beijing Olympics

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of China  ,
Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where is the best place to protest the Games? That's a question I'm often asked (NOT).

Not to worry. No need to go to Tiannanmen square. Or at the Olympic venues.

Nope. Just get your permit and go ahead. Protest in an official protest pen.

This from the Telegraph (which if it isn't - should be banned in China)

China builds 'protest pens' for Olympic demonstrators
Beijing is to set up three "protest pens" in parks around the city to cater for anyone brave enough to want to stage a demonstration during the Olympic Games.

By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Last Updated: 4:42PM BST 24 Jul 2008

Plans for the protest areas were announced even as the government made clear that dissent by Chinese citizens would not be tolerated in the next month.

Among the victims was Du Daobin, a prominent internet writer who was detained and then given a suspended sentence in 2004 for subversion. He was arrested this week accused of posting articles to foreign websites and meeting guests in violation of his probation, according to a number of activist groups abroad including Reporters without Borders.

His case comes on top of the jailing in March of Hu Jia, who was among the best known activists among the international community, and the detention last month of Huang Qi, another internet writer who criticised the government about building safety after the earthquake in his home province of Sichuan.

Other dissidents and human rights activists and lawyers have been warned to leave the city during the Games.

The three designated parks are Ritan Park in the east of the city, Shijie or World Park in Fengtai district to the south-west, and Zizhuyuan or Purple Bamboo Park in Haidian district to the north-west.

Ritan, or the Temple of the Sun Park is close to the British and other embassies, and is popular with both tourists and the many expatriates who live in the area.

The authorities have implemented strict security in advance of the Games, citing the dangers of terrorism and social disturbance, but have said this is in line with previous Olympics. This raised the pressure on them to allow a venue for demonstrations, which are strictly banned by the International Olympic Committee at all sporting venues but have customarily been allowed elsewhere.

Liu Shaowu, director of security for the Games, said that Chinese law allowed protests "as long as applications were made and approved in advance", a condition almost never met in the country.

"How to get approval for protests and what requirements are needed for people to participate in the protests will be explained to every applicant in the process of application," he said. "Normally we will ask people to go to the approved places for their demonstrations."

Mr Liu did not answer when asked whether both Chinese and foreign protesters could use the protest venues.

Numerous overseas groups have waged active campaigns around the Games, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, and a variety of Tibet support groups.

But a tightening of visa restrictions, with some activists even turned back from the supposedly freer Hong Kong during the Olympic Torch relay, has made it more difficult to arrange protests during the Games themselves.

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