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Canwest News Service: China's wacky but worrisome Olympic rules


Excerpted from Canwest News Service:

Human Rights in China (HRIC) said Thursday that amidst all the dos and don'ts listed in the legal guidelines, a major concern is one prohibiting "carrying out of China documents or other materials that are classified as state secrets."

The New York-based group claims this is a catch-all phrase that could be used to entrap ordinary visitors. It warned: "The state secrets laws and regulations are extremely broad and provide for retroactive classification, such that everything can potentially be classified as a state secret."

In recent years, the Chinese government has classified as "state secrets" such commonplace information as the number of workers laid off by state-owned enterprises and the data on water and solid waste pollution in cities, it said.

HRIC also warned that if you get caught with so-called "state secrets" in your possession, finding a lawyer in China to defend you could be difficult.

It noted that many of the "human rights" lawyers who bravely and publicly offered to defend Tibetans jailed during the Lhasa riots in March are now having major problems getting their law licences renewed by the government.

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