Ballroom dancing in park

Music

00:00

 

CAMPBELL:  It’s been a long march to China’s first Olympic Games. And for these Beijingers, the excitement is building.

00:16

 

Music

00:24

Xia Fengzhi dancing

CAMPBELL:  Xia Fengzhi leads a club of Olympic volunteers learning English to welcome foreign friends.

00:30

 

XIA FENGZHI:  Olympic Game is coming – really coming. We are ready. Everything ready – welcome. Chinese smile, very, very smile – warmly welcome yeah, like this.

00:40

Ballroom dancing

Music

00:52

 

CAMPBELL:  This is the image China’s government wants to show the world -- a peaceful, friendly nation, committed to sportsmanship and fair play. But there’s another face it wants to hide.

00:58

 

Music

01:10

Campbell on street with digicam

CAMPBELL:  Are we rolling? We rolling, David? Okay, let’s go.

01:16

 

CAMPBELL:  Police are everywhere, so we have to move fast.

01:21

 

Protesters and police. Campbell films

In a laneway near Tiananmen Square, hundreds are gathering to protest.  Authorities have banned demonstrations in the lead-up to the Olympics, so there’s certain to be trouble.

01:27

 

MAN:   Is there democracy!

CROWD:  No!

MAN: Are there human rights?

CROWD: No!

01:38

 

Music

01:41

 

CAMPBELL:  These are not intellectuals or lawyers or human rights activists.

01:45

Protesters

WOMAN 1:  I have to  sleep on the roadside under a bridge. I have no place to eat , no place to sleep.

01:50

 

CAMPBELL:  They’re ordinary Chinese who say they’ve been robbed by communist officials.

01:56

 

WOMAN IN HAT:  I was under house arrest during the National People’s  Congress.

WOMAN 2:  Some people were even sent to labour camp.

WOMAN 3: Nobody cares.

02:02

 

WOMAN 1: The local police keep an eye on you , sometimes threaten you, harass you, punish you.

02:10

 

Music

02:16

 

 

CAMPBELL:  Foreign media are supposed to be able to report freely during the Olympics. But within seconds of revealing our camera, we’re surrounded by police.

02:21

Translator with police

TRANSLATOR: We are here to film the petition system of China.

POLICEMAN:  You are not allowed to film here without permission.

TRANSLATOR: Not correct.

02:29

 

CAMPBELL:  They order the people not to speak to us.

POLICEMAN:  This will do you no good. Leave here. Go away.

02:40

Old lady with petition

CAMPBELL:  Then police try to seize written complaints about party corruption.

OLD LADY: I started work in 1945 and now I have no food…  Don’t give them to him! You mustn’t give them to him!  Don’t give them to him! You mustn’t give them to him!

POLICEMAN:  Don’t leave, don’t leave!

02:53

 

Music

03:21

Police detain crew

CAMPBELL:  We try to leave, and we’re detained.

POLICEMAN:  Wait , wait, wait, wait! China police! Neighbourhood control!

03:24

 

 

CAMPBELL:  Today luck is with us and we get away with our tapes.

03:38

Tiananmen Square

But in Tiananmen Square, we must speak softly. Undercover police are listening.

03:41

Campbell piece to camera

Super:

Eric Campbell

For the past two weeks, we’ve been filming secretly around Beijing, changing locations and switching tapes to evade police. But the risks we’ve faced are nothing compared to the dangers for the people we’ve spoken to, some of whom may be severely punished for the comments you’ll see in this story. But, like millions across China who’ve fallen foul of the corrupt and greedy party officials, they feel they have nothing left to lose.

03:49

Cao Xiangzhen and children collect garbage

Cao Xiangzhen and her children collect garbage to survive, selling bits of plastic to recyclers.

04:18

 

Not so long ago, they enjoyed a middle class life, her husband working for the State-owned Bank of China. He was jailed for coming to Beijing to complain about corruption by bank officials

04:25

 

CAO XIANGZHEN:  The party secretary Lu Fuchang sent twenty security people to South Beijing train station to attack him. They pinned him down to the ground.

04:40

Cao Xiangzhen and children

They beat him, handcuffed him and took him to Yunxi county jail. They did not let him eat or drink for fifty hours. He is still being kept in that private prison. My 7 year old daughter and I were also held there for three months. They wouldn’t allow her to go to school.

04:52

Scorpions on skewers

Music

05:17

Street scenes

CAMPBELL:  On the surface, Beijing looks like a peaceful, contented city. But every year, millions of angry Chinese come here from the provinces to complain about local officials.

05:26

 

Music

05:37

 

CAMPBELL:  Called petitioning, it’s a right that goes back to ancient times, when peasants could beg the emperor to intervene.  That’s all ended with the Olympics.

05:41

Bequelin. Super:
Nicholas Bequelin
Human Rights Watch

BEQUELIN:  All the police bureaus have instructions to prevent petitioners from reaching Beijing. All the district committees, the party organisation at the local level in every district and streets of  Beijing have orders to prevent petitioners from carrying activities or demonstrating. I mean this is a very comprehensive system to airbrush any signs of discontent, and project this image in Beijing that everything is wonderful, this façade of perfection and social harmony.

05:53

Bequelin at window

 

06:31

 

CAMPBELL:  China analyst Nicholas Bequelin has been following the petitioners’ plight from Hong Kong. He’s been barred from mainland China during the pre-Olympics crackdown.

06:35

 

BEQUELIN: Beijing has not kept its promise to better human rights ahead of the Games. 

06:46

Bequelin

What we’ve seen on the opposite is tightening down across the spectrum from social activities to media control to internet.

06:51

Canberra Torch Rally protests. Super:
Canberra, April 24, 2008

Music

07:04

 

CAMPBELL:  This is what China wants to avoid -- the scenes of protest that dogged the Olympic torch on its troubled journey around the world.

07:15

 

Music

07:23

 

CAMPBELL:  What was meant to be a triumph for the Communist Party turned into farce.

07:27

Nationalistic Chinese students at rally

In Canberra (Australia), nationalistic students -- many bussed in by the Chinese Embassy -- tried to stop the protests.

07:32

Hou at protest.  Super:
Hou Dawei 
Student

Hou Dawei:  We are Chinese. We know the true situation in China. We think China Government is best in the world.

07:40

Students clash

CAMPBELL:  The overseas students harassed and manhandled Australian-based dissidents. Their chief target was a man the Communist Party calls a traitor.

07:57

 

CROWD:  Traitor,  traitor.

08:06

 

Protestors chant at Chen

CHEN:  We came here to show different voice – of the Chinese people – we are not here to celebrate.  The Chinese people are suffering.

(Sound up)  Traitor, traitor, traitor

CAMPBELL:  Chen Yonglin was once a diplomat at the Chinese consulate in Sydney. His job was to monitor Chinese dissidents in Australia. Three years ago, he resigned in disgust at China’s actions and defected.

CHEN:  They don’t even know the Tiananmen massacre -- these people just crazy.

 

(Sound up)  Traitor, traitor, traitor

 

08:09

 

CAMPBELL:  His opponents might have been heartened by drowning him out in Canberra.  But they can’t stop him giving a voice to dissidents in China.

08:53

Ext. Dissidents’ meeting house

CAMPBELL:  Every weekend, at a suburban Sydney home, Chen does something China would call subversion.

(sound up) Basically we operate like a charity …..

 

09:07

Chen and colleagues Skype

He and like-minded refugees talk to mainland activists using a free internet phone system called Skype.

CHEN:  Some people say the authority has already cracked the Skype,

09:18

 

but it’s okay, it’s open, everything is open.

CAMPBELL:  Oh, still working?

CHEN:  Yeah.

CAMPBELL:  Today it’s a conference call with 150 activists discussing what to do during the Olympics.

(Sound up) They can’t do anything … anyhow …

09:33

Campbell around table with Chen and other

CAMPBELL:  Chen claims to be in touch with around 2000 activists using false names on untraceable networks.

09:48

 

It looks more like a tea party than a revolution. But Chen believes it’s the start of something much bigger.

CHEN:  The people there,

09:57

 

they are the seeds of freedom. They spread the seeds, you know, but spread very quickly.

Campbell:  And the government is worried about this?

CHEN:  Definitely.

10:06

Liu at computer

LIU:  A lot of attention is coming this way…

CAMPBELL:  Back in China, we met one of Chen’s main contacts, Liu Anjun. From house arrest on the outskirts of Beijing, he’s been using Skype to advise his own network of dissidents.

LIU:  These people will do anything for money without regard for humanity, morality – nothing!

10:17

Liu stands using crutches

CAMPBELL:  Like many petitioners, Liu has been fighting for just compensation after his former house was seized for a new development. Authorities have beaten and jailed him, but he refuses to give up fighting.

10:47

Liu

LIU: Since I started petitioning I’ve seen another side of China. This side is much bigger than I came across when I was working in property development for the government.

(Sound up) Hello, hello.

11:06

Liu greets petitioners

CAMPBELL:  Liu Anjun is now trying to bring petitioners together. The government fears any organised opposition, so this group had to meet in secret at his apartment. Just five years ago, when I worked here as a correspondent, it was virtually impossible to contact such groups.

11:21

 

Thanks to Chen Yonglin in Sydney, we were able to meet them and hear their stories.

11:41

Liu and others around table

LIU:  Now, the closer to the Olympics, the closer they’ll watch us.

HU:  Yes … difficult.

LIU:  Please take care.

HU:  It’s like we are underground guerrillas.

11:47

 

CAMPBELL:  These were once loyal Chinese citizens who once supported their government. But the system has left them no other way to seek justice.

11:57

 

WOMAN:  They are talking about a system reform –but not really.  They change the soup, but not the broth.

12:06

 

LIU:  Without human rights, without people, what’s the point of having the Olympics?

WOMAN:  There are long, long queues stretching outside the petition office – but basically they don’t solve anything.

12:12

Police at petitioners’ village

POLICEMAN: Show me your journalist card.

CAMPBELL:  Until recently, petitioners waiting for their cases to be heard

12:26

 

Police move residents. Demolition site

were allowed to stay in this run-down district. Not anymore. Over the past few months, it’s been demolished. Residents, and journalists trying to film them, were driven away.

Policeman:   Excuse me – we conduct our duty.

CAMPBELL:  Authorities are determined to force petitioners back to their home towns before the games begin.

12:32

Cao cooks

CAMPBELL:  Cao Xiangzhen and her children are now hiding out in a poor village of migrant workers.

123:02

Cao feeds family

While there’s nothing illegal about petitioning, the local party secretary has ordered their arrest.

13:12

 

CAO: It’s in revenge for us petitioning. The party secretary said

13:19

Cao and children

“Even if you report this case to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, it will be as useless as farting’. We are in control of this matter.”

13:23

Cao’s son

SON:   I’m very worried. Lu Fuchang said they’re going to catch my mother in Beijing.  When they catch us they will take us back  to the county and keep my father in jail. We’ll lose our freedom. They will control us.

13:33

Cao and children

CAO:  I beg you to pay some attention to our case. The Chinese media doesn’t dare to report it. The Chinese Communist Party are purely fake communists. Before, the bandits lived deep in the mountains, now they are among the security police.

13:58

Demolition of houses

Music

14:21

 

CAMPBELL:  And this is what most petitioners are complaining about.

China’s economic boom has seen countless officials seize people’s land for development and give only token compensation for their loss.

14:25

Campbell on high rise balcony

The problem has been greatest in Beijing, which has seen seven years of rapacious development since it won the Olympic bid.

14:42

Construction

Music

14:50

Beijing skyline

CAMPBELL: Human rights groups say more than a million people have been displaced in a program to showcase Beijing as a modern city.

14:55

Men in park

MAN:  Olympics … because the Olympics are being held in Beijing they demolish people’s houses… they demolish people’s homes.

15:06

 

MAN 2:  They are harming the ordinary people.

MAN 3:  We have no source of income.

MAN 4:   They said they would solve our cases but nothing solved. The Olympics did not solve China’s human rights problems.

15:15

Hu takes Campbell  to demolished home

CAMPBELL:  One of the petitioners we met at Liu Anjun’s place took us to what once his family home.

15:29

 

HU:  On May 24 2007 it was forcefully demolished. I made them leave the rubble away here, and I built a tent on the site. We now live in a tent.

CAMPBELL:  Hu Huanzhou’s entire neighbourhood has been  demolished to make way for up-market apartments.

15:41

Hu

HU: I can’t say how long this will last. They could move us at any time. The government don’t come themselves -- they send thugs from the ‘Black Society’ to harass us. So there is no guarantee of our safety.

15:59

Hu and wife show tent

CAMPBELL:  Hu and his wife have rigged up electricity and water to their tent; stubbornly refusing to leave until they’re given the compensation they’re due.

16:16

 

MRS HU:  They say lots of good things in public, but they keep the persecution of the citizens quiet – don’t let anybody know it.  We are just ordinary people, we are defenceless.

16:25

 

We were not well off . We always tried to save every penny for a better future. 

16:38

 

CAMPBELL:  Corrupt officials aren’t just robbing the people.  Some are prepared to kill.

16:47

Liu with crutches

Liu Anjun was beaten nearly to death after he advised his neighbours to sue for more money.

16:54

 

LIU:  The demolition company was furious that they made less profit and wanted to find out who leaked the information. I didn’t know society could be so ugly.

17:01

 

Music

17:23

 

CAMPBELL:  Revenge was swift and brutal.

17:27

Photo. Liu in hospital bed

His wife, Sun Cuihua found him bleeding in the gutter outside their house.

17:31

Sun Cuihua on street

SUN CUIHUA:  I came running out.  There was already this much blood on the ground and there was a cut on his head and blood was spurting out… It shot out this much.

17:38

 

When I saw him I just went crazy – I was beside myself.

17:50

 

When the police saw him in hospital about to regain consciousness they said, “Damn, he survived.”

17:55

Photo. Liu in hospital bed

CAMPBELL:  Two men were charged with assaulting Liu Anjun. He says prosecutors found they’d been hired by the local police chief.

18:02

 

But five years on, the only person who’s been jailed is Mr Liu.

18:11

Liu

LIU:   I was arrested for disturbing social order and given 2 years imprisonment. I was released on July 27th, 2007.  So for me it was the first Olympic crackdown.

18:18

Excerpt from official Olympic BOCOG DVD

Music

18:38

 

CAMPBELL:  It’s a long way from the propaganda image of the Harmony Games.

18:44

 

Music

18:48

 

 

CAMPBELL: The lead-up to the Olympics has put a harsh spotlight on China’s injustice. The Communist Party is gambling that will be forgotten when the games get underway.

18:58

 

Music

19:08

 

CAMPBELL: The opening ceremony will be held here

19:13

Olympic Stadium

in the new National Olympic Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest. But one person who won’t be celebrating is the man who designed it.

19:16

Ai Wei Wei. Super: 
Ai Wei Wei
Artist

Ai Wei Wei:  If you really ask the people what this going to change your life – or in what way your life is going be affected and in what sense Olympics will be remembered, those are empty – completely empty.

19:25

Ai Wei Wei in office with designers

CAMPBELL:  Ai Wei Wei is a world-renowned artist whose unconventional vision contributed to the stadium’s striking appearance.

19:46

 

While he was happy to help solve the architectural problems, he believes the Communist Party has done nothing to solve China’s.

19:57

Ai Wei Wei

Ai Wei Wei: China on the one hand, you have a dictatorship, you have a totalitarian society. We still don’t have the rights to elect our own government and they make stupid decisions. Every day you see the papers, stupid decisions are made. On the other hand you have a big crowd of nationalism, young kids knows nothing because of limited information or because of misleading of the media. So this two combination can make the situation even worse.

20:05

Ai Wei Wei walks past sculptures

 

20:44

 

CAMPBELL:  Even for an artist of his international standing, these are dangerous words to utter. In February, a petitioner was jailed for five years simply for saying China needed human rights, not the Olympics.

Ai Wei Wei:  Yes I’m worried,

20:47

Ai Wei Wei. Super: 
Ai Wei Wei
Artist

but the kind of worry compared to if I don’t speak. If  I don’t talk about my mind then there is many, many people who would worry for a long time.

21:02

Police on Beijing streets

 

21:18

 

CAMPBELL:  Beijing has tightened visa rules to stop foreign protesters upsetting its Olympics. Just what Beijing’s own disaffected residents are planning is something Mr Liu dares not discuss.

21:22

 

LIU: Basically the news we receive is not good  We want human rights, we also want the Olympics.

21:39

Liu

But it is hard for us to make such a statement. We are obliged to want Olympics but not human rights. So that’s the awkward situation.  If we want to speak the truth then we will end up in jail.

21:43

File footage. Riot in Guiyang

Music

22:05

 

CAMPBELL:  For all China’s efforts to maintain control, a volatile anger is building. While we were filming in Beijing, 30,000 people went on a rampage in the southern city of Guiyang.

22:12

 

Music

22:25

 

CAMPBELL: It was sparked by rumours police had covered up a murder by relatives of party officials. But thousands of petitioners joined in,  venting their own frustration and rage.

22:27

 

CHEN:  The voices of the majority of the Chinese people cannot be represented by the Chinese Communist government, and millions of petitioners have been removed from Beijing because of the Olympics.

22:42

Chen. Super:
Chen Yonglin
Defector

Of course the Chinese people want a successful Olympics Games hosted by the real democratic China, but not the Communist government.

22:54

Ai Wei Wei. Super: 
Ai Wei Wei
Artist

Ai Wei Wei:  So far I didn’t see any substantial, meaningful change or even discussion around this Olympics. It become a very – I think it become quite a sad story.

23:08

Women dancing in park

It’s just you’re putting up a big party or big celebration – there’s no meaning.

23:28

 

Music

23:35

 

CAMPBELL:  Millions of Beijingers are proud to be hosting the Olympics.

The discontent is still too small to threaten the Communist rulers. But in this Olympic city, the real test of endurance, strength and fair play is yet to come.

23:44

 

Credits: 

Reporter: Eric Campbell

Camera: David Martin

               Geoff Lye

Editor: Garth Thomas

Producers: Mavourneen Dineen and Vivien Altman

24:10

 

 

 

 

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