Blue Flower

Written by Admin   
Dec 06, 2007 at 02:48 AM

Photo taken by Visual Artists Guild

Front page story on Pasadena Star News with an accompanying photograph of the billboard and the participants

Also the local ABC TV  report is on and
Protesting the float Billboard focuses on China issue By Kenneth Todd Ruiz, Staff Writer Article Launched: 12/03/2007 11:08:28 PM PST

PASADENA - Interlocked manacles and chains evoked the five Olympic rings on an eye-catching billboard unveiled Monday above Arroyo Parkway.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders erected the provocative sign blocks from where a Beijing Olympic float will participate in the Rose Parade on Jan. 1 as part of an international campaign calling attention to the jailing of journalists and human-rights abuses by the Chinese government.

Pasadena has become a flashpoint in the global debate about whether China's worsening human rights record signifies it has broken the promises made to secure its Olympic bid.

"Today, China is the biggest prison of journalists and cyber-dissidents," said Lucie Morillon, director of Reporters Without Borders' operations in the U.S.

About 100 journalists and Internet users deemed dangerous by the Communist Party are known to be jailed in China "for nothing more than trying to report what is going on independently," Morillon said.

Former Pasadena City Councilman Bill Paparian, who also served as mayor, called on parade attendees to turn their backs on the float as it rolls down Colorado Boulevard.

"We must not turn our backs on our sisters and brothers in China who suffer for basic human rights and religious freedom," Paparian said. "To show our support for them, we must turn our backs on the Rose Parade's Beijing float of shame."

The billboard is the latest move by a disparate union of groups from the human rights, religious freedom, labor, Falun Gong, Burmese and Tibetan communities united as the Pasadena Coalition for Human Rights.

The billboard was paid for by the Visual Artists Guild, a Los Angeles-based group promoting human rights in China.

Organizer Ann Lau and others said Mayor Bill Bogaard, who has been criticized for leading efforts to bring Beijing into the Rose Parade, stopped his car Monday afternoon to watch a portion of the news conference before driving off.

Bogaard could not be reached for comment.

In October, the City Council rejected recommendations from its Human Relations Commission to send a strong statement to the Beijing district that helped organize the Rose Parade float and is Pasadena's sister city.

Instead, a council majority voted to "endorse" sending a generic statement in support of human rights to all of Pasadena's sister cities.

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