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San Francisco Chronicle: China's Olympic Challenge - A Case of Dignity

By Nancy Pelosi

The Olympic Charter states that the goal of the Olympic Games is to promote 'a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.' The Chinese government has failed to live up to the commitments it made before being awarded the Olympic Games to improve its human rights situation and to allow foreign journalists to report freely in China.

In fact, there are more disturbing reports that the Chinese government is conducting a nationwide crackdown on those who dare to speak out in the run-up to the Olympics. Human rights leaders have been jailed or have been placed under house arrest. Both foreign and Chinese journalists have been beaten, harassed and detained.

The Olympic Games should provide an opportunity for more free expression, not less. Freedom-loving people around the world vigorously protested when the Olympic torch was run through their countries because of the poor human rights situation in China, the crackdown in Tibet, and Beijing's support for the genocidal regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma. The Chinese people deserve the same freedom and democracy that so many Chinese Americans came to our country to secure for their families.

Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.