Parasites In The Lands Of The Infidels

Egypt’s Resilient and Evolving Social Activism

Why did Trump strike Syria?

In an interview, Amr Adly discusses his recent Carnegie paper on Egypt’s large private enterprises.

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While the Muslim Brotherhood gets all the ink, the Salafists go on a rampage.

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A test for the Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt’s changing foreign policy

Egypt beyond Mubarak

The dissolution of the NDP

Remaking Cairo from below

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No citizenship without social justice

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Rethinking Internal Security in Egypt

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The Olympic Games—Political Games?

  by: : World Uyghur Congress

Munich: When it won the Olympic bid in 2001, China promised to improve its human rights record. Unfortunately, with less than two months to go before the Beijing Olympics begin, no substantial progress and developments in the human rights situation in China have ever been made to date. Obviously, the breach of China's promise contradicts the fundamental idea of the Olympic Games as expressed in the motto "peace, friendship and solidarity." Although China has tried to disassociate its human rights and international policies from its Olympic hosting duties, it has used the Olympic Games as a political opportunity to show off its image as one of the more united, prosperous and powerful countries on earth.

In the run up to the Olympic Games, the Chinese government has stepped up its heavy-handed policies to suppress the resistance of Uyghurs against Chinese rule, no matter how peaceful. Uyghurs are still living in a culture of fear, facing persecution, marginalization and assimilation that erode the very core of cultural identity, religious belief and economic rights of Uyghurs. Meanwhile, China is deceitfully playing the "terrorism" scare card by provoking the threat of the
Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) — a shadowy organization hard to define — during the Beijing Summer Olympics in order to justify its pre-emptive strike against any form of political activity by the Uyghurs before and after the Olympic Games. Although Chinese officials have placed tremendous emphasis on the threat of "terrorism" against the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there is no compelling evidence either from foreign governments' or Chinese sources to justify such a claim.

On the occasion of the impending arrival of the Olympic Torch in East Turkestan (known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), Chinese authorities are trying to use this event to conceal the widespread discontent of Uyghurs with the totalitarian Chinese regime, by creating a false atmosphere of "harmonious society" and misleading the world community about the continued, massive and systematic violations of human rights in East Turkestan. The World Uyghur Congress has recently learned that authorities have closely monitored all activities by Uyghurs on the occasion of the Olympic Torch Relay in East Turkestan.

On 17 June, the Olympic Torch will be in East Turkestan. Originally, the date of the Olympic Torch Relay in East Turkestan was scheduled for 25 June 2008 as published on the official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games ( However, the date of the Olympic Torch Relay in East Turkestan was suddenly changed on June 15 from 25 June to 17 June without the Chinese government giving any further explanation. The World Uyghur Congress believes that the surreptitious change of the date was due to the leaking of confidential information about the upcoming demonstration being planned by the World Uyghur Congress, to be held on 25 June as a parallel, indeed counter, event to the Olympic Torch Relay on 25 June in East Turkestan, as the was initially scheduled by the Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympics. It is, without doubt, a deliberate tactical decision by Chinese authorities to disrupt the symbolic effect of the worldwide protest of Uyghurs against China's serial human rights abusing autocracy on the same day as the Olympic Torch Relay in East Turkestan. Evidently, by changing the date of the Olympic Games Torch Relay, China is playing political games with the world community in order to play for time.

Essentially, the Olympic Torch Relay would represent an important dimension in the history of the Olympic Games, spreading Olympic principles throughout the world, thereby creating international goodwill.. However, the Chinese government wishes to prevent the Olympic flame symbolizing the endeavour for perfection and struggle for victory from lighting up the darkest corners of East Turkestan where Uyghurs remain subjected to human rights abuses on a massive scale. The passage of the Olympic Torch in East Turkestan would be a great event for the Chinese government to showcase its economic achievements, but for Uyghurs it would be a precious opportunity to appeal to the conscience of the whole world to realize the unity of Olympic ideals and human rights in a country—China—where the latter are severely denied, and to listen to the suffering of Uyghurs.

Despite the change of the date of the Olympic Torch Relay in East Turkestan, the World Uyghur Congress is still planning to hold a mass demonstration on 25 June called the "Freedom Torch Relay" in front of the European Council in Brussels and in other parts of the world to:

--give voice to the forcibly silenced Uyghurs in East Turkestan who are denied their legal, cultural and economic rights, and suffer from a growing sense of cultural dilution, economic exploitation, and religious discrimination;

--strongly condemn the assimilation policy of the PRC systematically and uniquely targeting Uyghurs as a people;

--call for the European Union and all European countries to use every opportunity to put strong pressure upon the government of the PRC to end its repressive treatment of Uyghurs;

--urge EU leaders to boycott the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing unless China makes a substantial effort to improve its human rights record.