The Tragic Legacy of the 2008 Chinese Olympics

Published on 6 Feb 2013, 12:08
It was a dazzling spectacle. The tightly choreographed opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in China. It captured the world's imagination. But now the iconic Bird's Nest Stadium sits quite, fallen into disrepair, and a much more sinister legacy of the Olympic Games is left behind.

This women is dying, the result of years of torture and imprisonment, driven to the brink of insanity. Her name is Chen Zhenping. A Falun Gong practitioner. She was arrested on the eve of the Olympics, along with scores of human rights activists, dissidents, and religious adherent. It was a wave of massive crackdowns before the Olympics. With all eyes turned to China, the Communist regime wanted an image of harmony.

[Jin Zhaohuan, Chen Zhenping's Daughter]:
"My mother was put in jail five times. She was released in 2003, and re-arrested in 2008. During this five-year interval, the authorities placed us under residential surveillance.My mother was banned from going outside home. We were deprived of our own legal rights."

Since her arrest, Chen has been tortured and deprived of sleep in Henan Xinxiang Women's Prison. Prison guards have tried to make Chen renounce her belief in the Falun Gong spiritual practice. For 40 months, family members were forbidden from visiting her, until August 2012, when Chen's brother was allowed a visit. What he saw was a sister too ill to stand, suffering from a nervous breakdown.

[Jin Zhaohuan, Chen Zhenping's Daughter]:
"Before 1999, my mother had been diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Doctors in five hospitals told us that she only had 3 months left to live. But later, after she began to practice Falun Gong, she quickly regained her health, and had very good temper and mentality.

And now the practice that saved her life is the reason the Chinese regime has made Chen, and her family, suffer.

Shortly after Chen's arrest in 2008, her daughter Jin, went to the local Zhaohuan court to appeal, but the judge handling the case publically beat her. She was 19. After being forced into hiding, with the help of her older sister living in Finland and the Finnish government, she was rescued from China and now lives with her husband.

Amnesty International has issued urgent action calls for Chen Zhenping on four different occasions. In 2010, Chen Zhenping's case was submitted to the UN and a year later, the European Commission for Human Rights included Chen Zhenping on a list of prisoners of conscience it urged the CCP to immediately release.

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