Two groups of Chinese dissidents have called on the IOC to review its decision to award the 2008 Olympics to Beijing after publishing what they described as evidence of plans for a crackdown in the run up to the Games.
In an open letter to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, two US-based groups urged the body to â€œmeet at the earliest possible date to review new evidence and consider rescinding its decision to award the 2008 Games to China.â€
The groups, the Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China and the Free China Movement, released what they said was a report from authorities in Jilin province calling for a crackdown on all dissident groups, particularly the banned Falungong spiritual movement, â€œin order to host a better and successful Olympics in 2008.â€
The report called for organisers of demonstrations to be swiftly arrested and â€œpunished severelyâ€, sanctions of up to three years in custody and fines of $1,200 for offenders and for Falungong activists to be particularly harshly dealt with.
Jilin is one of the provinces where the Falungong has been most active and was home to its guru, Li Hongzhi, who is now in exile in the United States.
A spokesman for Jilinâ€™s public security bureau said he knew nothing about the document. Other officials were not available for comment because of the week-long holiday for Mayday.
The appeal to the IOC follows recent hints from Rogge that Chinaâ€™s human rights abuses could yet result in it being stripped of the Games.
â€œWe are convinced that the Olympic Games will improve human rights in China,â€ Rogge told the BBC. â€œHowever the IOC is a responsible organisation and if either security, logistics or human rights are not acted upon to our satisfaction then we will act.â€
IOC officials have since played down the comments, denying that they amounted to a warning to China.
An IOC delegation which visited Beijing last month declared itself â€œvery impressedâ€ with the state of the cityâ€™s preparations to host the Olympics.