Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Olympic corporate sponsors reject calls to press China on human rights

Tibetan organizations are putting pressure on corporations that are sponsoring the upcoming Beijing Olympics, with a special focus on Coca-Cola, BusinessWeek reported on March 27.

Coke, Lenovo (a Chinese computer company), and Samsung (a South Korean electronics company), have all spent millions of dollars to sponsor the Olympic torch relay, which goes through 21 countries.

Human Rights Watch released a statement on March 25 urging these three companies to pressure Beijing to reopen Tibet and to send the torch there only if the Chinese government allows the recent unrest to be independently investigated.

Activists are focusing on Coke because of its huge influence. “You cannot, as a responsible American company, leave American values at the border in exchange for access to a lucrative market,” said Jacob Colker, campaign manager for International Campaign for Tibet.

In response to this and other statements, Coke has maintained that the issue in Tibet should be handled by the Chinese government and not corporate sponsors. Samsung and Lenovo have also said that they, as corporate sponsors, are not in positions to influence politics.

For the full article, click here.


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