China has failed to live up to promises to improve human rights for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing despite reforms to the death-penalty system and more freedoms for foreign reporters, Amnesty International said in a report today.
The report catalogs a wide range of persistent abuses, from extensive use of detention without trial to the persecution of civil-rights activists and new methods to rein in the domestic media and censor the Internet.
The London-based group welcomed the new rules for foreign journalists and the referral of all death sentences to China's Supreme Court since the start of the year.
"Disappointingly, they have been matched by moves to expand detention without trial and house arrest of activists, and by a tightening of controls over domestic media and the Internet," Catherine Baber, deputy Asia-Pacific director of Amnesty International, said in a statement.
No Chinese official was immediately available to comment on the report. China has denounced previous Amnesty reports, saying it was fulfilling all the commitments made in its bid for the Games.
The report called on the International Olympic Committee to push Beijing more to improve its human-rights record, especially on issues relating to the Olympics.
Many of the ills cited by the group have been endemic for years in China. But in bidding for the Games back in 2001, Chinese leaders promised IOC members that the Olympics would lead to an improved climate for human rights and media freedoms.
In other Olympic news:
* The Austrian Ski Federation's legal expert criticized the decision to ban six Austrian athletes from the Olympics for life following the doping scandal at the Turin Winter Games. The cross-country skiers and biathletes received the lifetime bans for involvement in an organized blood-doping scheme - the harshest sanctions given to athletes by the IOC. Karl Heinz Klee said the athletes "never committed a doping offense." Even if it was proven, he said on the federation's Web site, the World Anti-Doping Agency's code calls only for a 2-year ban for first-time offenders.
* Rafael Nadal won his third straight Open Seat Godo championship, defeating Guillermo Canas in Barcelona, Spain, 6-3, 6-4, for his 72nd consecutive victory on clay. Nadal hasn't dropped a set on clay since top-ranked Roger Federer won the first set of their French Open final last year.
* Paul-Henri Mathieu beat Albert Montanes, 6-1, 6-1, to win the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco, and end a 5-year wait for his third career title.
* Gisela Dulko won her first WTA Tour title, rallying to beat Sorana Cirstea, 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-2, in the final of the Gaz de France Budapest Grand Prix.
* The Syracuse lacrosse team (5-7) was eliminated from NCAA Tournament consideration when it lost to Massachusetts on Saturday, 9-7. Syracuse will not participate in the postseason for the first time since 1982, a span of 24 tournaments, and will end a season with a losing record for the first time since 1975. Only Johns Hopkins has had more consecutive winning lacrosse seasons in Division I than Syracuse.
* Matt Danowski and Zack Greer each scored three goals to help Duke beat visiting Virginia, 12-9, in the Atlantic Coast Conference lacrosse tournament championship.
* Dan Wheldon, a close runner-up in his two previous races at Kansas City (Kan.) Speedway, won the Kansas Lottery Indy 300. He won the race under caution when Scott Sharp crashed with two laps left. At the time, Wheldon was 10 seconds ahead of Dario Franchitti.
* Lee Stempniak scored twice to lead the United States to a 5-1 victory over Belarus in Mytischi, Russia, putting the Americans in the second round of the hockey world championships with the Czech Republic, Finland and Russia. *