The Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR) (http://humanrightstorch.org) is a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness of, and stop, the Chinese communist regime’s human rights crimes prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The HRTR strongly condemns the Chinese regime’s ruthless crackdown in Tibet, arrest of 1878 Falun Gong followers, support of corrupt regimes in Myanmar and Darfur and persecution of Christians, lawyers, reporters and all who have suffered as a result of Beijing’s pre-Olympics whitewash.
The HRTR will eventually span 6 continents, 40 countries and an estimated 150 cities—including over 40 U.S. cities—to raise awareness of these issues.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS TORCH RELAY TO DATE:
BOSTON: 27-mile torch run/marathon, ceremony, concert, rally, drawings from Darfuri children. An audience of over 500 heard speeches from local officials, NGOs, and student groups, including State Senator Diane Wilkerson, Doctors for Human Rights, Chinese democracy advocate Yang Jianli, and the Darfur advocacy group STAND. A letter of support from Senator Edward Kennedy to the HRTR was read. [Read the letter]
“In China, freedom of the press is being undermined, and freedom of religion is under attack…We…have an obligation to speak out about China’s recent actions in Tibet and its role in human rights abuses in other nations as well….it is time for the United States to urge all nations to come together to meet this great challenge.”
-Senator Edward Kennedy’s letter of support, read at the Boston rally
SAN FRANCISCO: Torch march, rally, live music. Hundreds gathered peacefully to support the call for human rights, including County Supervisor Chris Daly who authored a non-binding resolution passed by an 8-3 vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Additional speakers included Olympic silver medalist Lynn Vidali Gautschi, Mexico City Olympian and bronze medalist John Carlos, renowned Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, and representatives of Tibet, Burma, Darfur, Falun Gong, Catholicism, and Nguyen Chi Thien, who spent a total of 27 years imprisoned at the hands of the Vietnamese communist regime. [Read his interview]
“The Chinese people deserve the Olympics. Their government does not.”
-Olympic medalist John Carlos
LOS ANGELES: Torch march, drum procession, rally, live music. Speakers included Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (video), Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Assemblyman Chuck Devore, human rights lawyer David Matas, Rabbi Ariel Haniel, and representatives of Tibet, Burma, Darfur, Falun Gong, and other repressed groups.
“We have built an economy in China totally ignoring the fact that the Chinese government is still run by tyrants and gangsters. We have now given them great power and great leverage, not only to keep control in China, but now in a way that threatens all of us and threatens the whole world.”
-Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, (R-CA)
WASHINGTON DC: Torch march, ceremony, ethnic dance performances, live music, rally. Nubian Sudanese athletes were cheered by hundreds when they spoke of their fight to save their homeland from destruction by a dam planned and built by the Chinese government without the consent of the Nubian people. They were joined by advocates from Tibet, Vietnam and China, including Wei Jingsheng, who spent 19 years in China’s infamous Laogai, or prison system. [News]
“The Olympic spirit should not be tainted. The flame you see here is the real Olympic torch.”
-Wei Jingsheng, Democracy advocate, Laogai survivor
DENVER: Torch run, live music by over 20 bands, rally, candlelight vigil. The Colorado State Senate and House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution in support for the Human Rights Torch Relay campaign, declaring April as “Human Rights Torch Relay Month.” [News]
“This resolution makes a very strong statement that says we are not going to look away…we are not going to turn a blind eye to allowing China to sell illegally harvested organs of Falun Gong practitioners; we’re not going to turn a blind eye on the Chinese regime’s prohibition freedom of the press and imprisoning journalists.”
-Colorado State Assemblywoman Nancy Todd (D-41)
Initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, HRTR provides a forum for athletes, human rights organizations, Chinese democracy groups, Tibetan rights activists and other concerned individuals to rally under the banner:
The Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist in China.
Issues of Concern