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The Olympics is not an excuse for repression

Dear President Bush,

Your visit to the Olympics Games this summer is a historic moment for you to promote human rights in China, and we urge you to express concern about the increase of repression in the run-up to the Games to the Chinese authorities. As the leader of the United States, your support for human rights would send a clear message to China and the world that Americans are fully committed to the preservation of human dignity - one of the "Fundamental Principles of Olympism".

When applying to the International Olympic Committee in 2001, the Chinese government suggested the Games would act as a catalyst for human rights developments in the country. Unfortunately, as China prepares for the Games, its human rights record has deteriorated. Human right defenders have been arrested, journalists were harassed, “re-education through labor” programs proliferate, and executions continue.

Mr. President, please use your position as leader of the United States to push the Chinese towards upholding their human rights commitments, thus ensuring a positive Olympic legacy.

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