Friday, August 8, 2008

Rising Concern Expressed on YouTube as Olympics Approach

As the world prepares for the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, nonprofit organizations, elected officials, and Olympians are using YouTube to draw attention to some of China's most pressing social and political issues. UNICEF, for example, has posted a video that shines the light on Chinese children affected by AIDS, leveraging former Chinese Olympians like gold-medal gymnast Lou Yun in their attempts.

Other organizations and individuals, however, are casting a more critical eye on China's policies, especially those surrounding human rights. Amnesty International recently uploaded a fourteen-video series chronicling human rights issues in China, while U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf has urged political leaders to boycott this year's Olympics in light of Chinese violations against human rights and religious freedom:

And just a few days ago, Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek had his visa revoked by Chinese authorities just hours before he was scheduled to fly to Beijing. Cheek is one of the founders of "Team Darfur," an organization that aims to bring public awareness to the political situation in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The controversy around the Beijing Olympics is not a new phenomenon -- demonstrations for and against China's hosting of the Olympics have drawn much attention over the past year. But will they continue through the Games? Stay tuned to YouTube to find out.


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