If History Teaches Us Anything, Don’t Bet on Beijing: Chinese Human Rights and the Beijing Olympics

In the summer of 2001, shortly after Beijing won the bid for the 2008 summer Olympics, Chinese Minister of Sport Yuan Weimin stated that the Olympics and would bring “progress in human rights causes.” Mr. Yuan was not alone in his unbridled optimism. François Carrard, the Executive Director of the International Olympic Committee, betted that rewarding China with the games would improve its human rights situation: “Bet on the fact that in the coming seven years, openness, progress, and development in many areas will be such that the [human rights] situation will be improved.