China to establish protest zones for Olympics

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beijing has set up three designated zones throughout the city for protesting the 2008 Summer Olympics. Beijing Shijie Gongyuan (Beijing World Park), Zizhuyuan (Purple Bamboo Park), and Ritan (Temple of the Sun), three public parks, have been selected as the locations for the "legal" protests. "They are all close to the city proper and the Olympic venues," stated Liu Shaowu who is the Director of Security for the Beijing Olympics organizing committee.

The Olympic Rings

Demonstrators must first receive licenses to picket and rally before protesting. "The police will safeguard the right to demonstrate as long as protesters have obtained prior approval and are in accordance with the law,” Mr. Liu said. Chinese law states the citizens must apply five days prior to demonstrating, stating slogans to be used, number of participants, and overall topic of protest.

The protest zones have been considered to be nothing more than an international show by certain human rights activists. "This is only a show for foreigners," said lawyer and legal rights activist Jiang Tianyong. Xu Zhiyong, another legal rights advocate with a more optimistic stance on the zones stated that, "as a first step toward opening up space for dissent, it is appropriate."