RIGHTS IMAGE HAUNTS CHINA BEFORE GAMES: CAMPAIGNER
June 7, 2007: China has executed far fewer people since being awarded the 2008 Olympics six years ago but the country's poor image on rights still threatens to mar the Games, a human rights campaigner said.
Veteran activist John Kamm, whose San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation researches political prisoners in China and presses the government to release them, said the number of annual executions in China has fallen by about 40 percent to around 7,500 per year.
Going back a decade, it has fallen 50 percent, he added.
"That works out to about 25,000 people who have not been executed," Kamm told the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong -- a body he once headed before leaving business to pursue human rights work about 17 years ago.
"In my opinion, it is something that giving China the Olympics has helped bring about," he later told reporters. (Sources: Reuters, 07/06/2007)