The Olympics will bring improvement to China’s human rights situation, International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said on Wednesday.
"The IOC is absolutely clear that it wants full respect of human rights," Rogge said to reporters prior to a meeting of the Olympic body's Executive Board. He added, however that the board could not "monitor human rights; we are not equipped for that."
The IOC approved Beijing to host the Games in 2001, drawing much criticism from human rights monitors worldwide. China, nonetheless, maintains that the upcoming Olympics would reveal its social changes to world.
Rogge said that China is already under plenty of international media scrutiny after winning its bid, naturally pushing Beijing to improve its human rights record.
"Having 20 to 25,000 press people covering (the Olympics), will open up the country to the whole world. That will have a positive effect," he assured the press.
Nonetheless, some religious freedom and human rights advocacy groups questioned Rogge’s optimism.
"The Chinese journalist and the political dissidents are still being oppressed. The religious freedom violation is recognized by everybody. So, on what standard are they basing this claim," asked Rev. Bob Fu, president of the China Aid Association, which has been monitoring religious persecution in China since 2002.
"During the Olympics the government might put a good image, by not persecuting too many people," stated Fu. He added that after the Olympics, as indicated by what China did after every major Asian Sports Game, the government would go back to "their old ways."
"Nobody can say that there is dramatic progress in human rights protection in China," Fun concluded. "We can only pray that the situation will get better when the Games begin."