"During the year  over 100 Falun Gong practitioners were reported to have died in detention or shortly after release as a result of torture, denial of food or medical treatment, and other forms of ill-treatment."
-- Amnesty International 2008 Annual Report, May 2008
With little more than four months to go before the Beijing Olympics, few substantial reforms have been introduced that will have a significant, positive impact on human rights in China.1This is particularly apparent in the plight of individual activists and journalists, who have bravely sought to expose ongoing human rights abuses and call on the government to address them. Recent measures taken by the authorities to detain, prosecute and imprison those who raise human rights concerns suggest that, to date, the Olympic Games has failed to act as a catalyst for reform. Unless the Chinese authorities take steps to redress the situation urgently, a positive human rights legacy for the Beijing Olympics looks increasingly beyond reach.
It is increasingly clear that much of the current wave of repression is occurring not in spite of the Olympics, but actually because of the Olympics. Peaceful human rights activists, and others who have publicly criticised official government policy, have been targeted in the official pre-Olympics ‘clean up’, in an apparent attempt to portray a ‘stable’ or ‘harmonious’ image to the world by August 2008.
According to overseas Falun Gong organizations, there has also been an increase in detentions of Falun Gong practitioners in the run-up to the Olympics.On 12 March 2008, the US-based Falun Dafa Information Centre published information suggesting that at least 67 individuals had been detained in Beijing since December 2007. The notes attached to these cases suggested that four had since been released or escaped while two, possibly three, had been assigned to RTL.