China has made big promises about how the Olympics will improve human rights - now it's time to deliver.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has also repeatedly said it expects human rights in China to get better, as a result of Beijing hosting of the 2008 Games.

Chinese authorities have made some positive changes, but these have been overshadowed by increased repression of groups they fear may embarrass or disrupt the country.

An Olympics marred by serious human rights violations will tarnish China's image and leave behind a legacy that no one will be proud of.

We want the Games to be a celebration of sport and culture and so we are holding China to account on the human rights promises it made.

China on the record

  • "By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help in the development of human rights," – Liu Jingmin, vice-president of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, April 2001

  • "We are confident that the Games coming to China not only promotes our economy, but also enhances all social conditions, including education, health and human rights," – Wang Wei, secretary general of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, from the China Daily, July 2001.

  • "I would like to mention that Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics will do good. Every country has their own human rights problem and China will certainly pay more attention to human rights," – Liu Jingming, vice-executive president Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, April 2001.

  • "(The Olympic Games) will help promote all economic and social progress and will also benefit the further development of our human rights cause," – Liu Qi, Beijing's Mayor said in the International Herald Tribune, 14 June 2001.

  • "There will be no restrictions on journalists in reporting on the Olympic Games," Beijing Olympics organisers in their official bid to host the 2008 Games, filed on 17 January 2001.

  • "We will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China," the Beijing organising commitee's vice president Wang Wei at a press conference on 12 July 2001.

  • "No one in China has been arrested simply because he or she said something on the Internet," China's Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office's deputy chief Liu Zhengrong to the China Daily, 15 February 2006.

  • "China will live up to its words and will turn its words into deeds ... The government will honor the promises and commitments made during our bid to host the Games," Beijing organising committee president Liu Qi, press briefing 27 September 2006.

What the IOC said

  • "We are convinced that the Olympic Games will improve human rights in China," IOC president Jacques Rogge, in an interview on BBC's Hardtalk, 24 April 2002.

  • "Sport, the Olympic Games and the IOC can play a positive role in helping the world's changes," – IOC president Jacques Rogge, 'IOC puts its hopes in Beijing', USA Today, 13 July 2001.

  • "The human rights problems remain an issue, but it is more of a challenge and an opportunity for the Olympic Movement to make a contribution to some of its own goals – which is to put sport at the service of mankind everywhere and maybe bring about some change," – IOC vice president Dick Pound, after the host city announcement, in Moscow in July 2001.

  • "We should all remember that the Games are not judged solely by the technical proficiency of the project, but also through the perception that the world has of the Games," IOC president Jacques Rogge, addressing an IOC co-ordination commission meeting 24 October 2006.

The Olympic Charter says

  • "The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity," – Olympic Charter, fundamental principles of Olympism, paragraph two.

  • "Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles," – Olympic Charter – fundamental principles of Olympism, paragraph one.