Local AI chapter to host own Olympics

In protest against human rights abuses by the Chinese government, Charleston's Amnesty International group is going to put its own twist on the traditional Olympic competitions.

On Saturday, August 9, the group will host the 2008 Human Rights Olympics at Folly Beach. Some of the events? Well, not exactly the typical ones. There will be a 100-yard dash ... with your legs shackled. Oh, and I hear the free speech high hurdles will be a huge draw: It's a race to censor a report on human rights in China.

The fun starts around 1 p.m. at 5th Street East and Arctic Avenue on Folly Island. Did I mention that the whole thing is free?

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There will be prizes and free food, as well, but the point is really to raise awareness for human rights abuses. There are letters available at the bottom of the event's Web site that you can print and mail to Chinese government officials, if you'd like to make your voice heard directly.

You can read the full press release on the event, but here's the highlights:

The events, held 1:00pm on August 9 on Folly Beach, parallel China’s awful human abuses on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. Amnesty hopes to use fun competition to attract people’s interest and support for pressuring the Chinese regime to change tactics.

Event winners will receive Olympic “medals” and prizes like restaurant gift certificates and cool merchandise.

Participants will enjoy free food and be offered opportunities to support the campaign against Chinese religious oppression, cultural rape of Tibet, crackdowns on free speech, mass detentions and executions, and other blatant abuses.

Also, check out their poster for the event, and pass the word!