Red Cross (Youth) pulls "Olympic" human rights campaign in Sweden.

The recently much debated Red Cross (youth) campaign has been pulled after a discussion with Red Cross headquarters in Geneva last Thursday. You can see the previous posts here; Red Cross campaign compares Chinese human right violations to olympic sports (16th June 2008) and a follow-up posted by the Red Cross Youth Sweden here; Red Cross Youth campaign for human rights (16th July 2008).

The campaign was first posted june 16th here on Adland, and like the (very similar) Amnesty International - After the Olympics campaign (posted 14th of March 2008) it didn't receive much attention at all, until about month later (12th July) when a new adgrunt - whole9yards - spotted something wrong with the images and left a comment about it. The photos in the campaign were shot in Nepal, and not in China.

The campaign then quickly took on a life on it's own, appearing in forums such as Anti-CNN.com, HK Yahoo.com, LKCN portal, bbs.hdpu.edu.cn, and even spawning facebook groups like this one*. For the extra curious who can't read chinese, you might find the worldlingo translator useful when trying to make out what is going on in some of those threads.

It even got a little messy here, when emotions ran high and some people posted gory images from the current war in Iraq, leading me to for the first time in Adland's 12 year web-history close a thread from new comments, just so that I may get some sleep without worrying that I'd wake up to a Rotten.com type gore-show the next morning.

By Thursday afternoon, the Red Cross in Stockholm had a phone conferance with the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva. Via emails sent from, presumably, the same people or group of people who had been sending emails to the Red Cross in Stockholm, they had learned about the campaign. After discussion with Red Cross youth Stockholm a concesus was reached - the campaign would be pulled from the web effective immediatly. The Red Cross international are working together with the olympic committee, donating volunteer work to the Olympics (see Red Cross China) and they felt that this campaign was "judgemental" (see Dagens media link).

Some magazines have more than four weeks press time, so ads already slated to appear in magazines next issue will still do so. After that it won't be seen in print again either.

Resume, and Dagens Media reported on the campaign being pulled Friday morning.

Simon Brouwer, from the Red Cross youth in Stockholm said to Resumé:

"His goal has been to stop the campaign and information that we've received says that he's also tried to stop campaigns for other organisations. We've always known that the images we used have been of Nepalian military acting against Tibetian protestors. The point was to highlight the question about human rights and what role all countries have. Sadly a lot of focus has ended up on the images instead of the human rights issue, but my hope is that we at least will have started a discussion."

Well, there's certainly been a discussion, hasn't there?

The image in the banner at the top comes from this military exercise

Chinese border guards from the Peoples Armed Police demonstrate counter terrorist and riot control tactics in the northeast China port city Dalian 25 March 2008. Security forces throughout China are honing their skills in preparation for all eventualities from hostage negotiations to armed attack in the runup to the Beijing Olympics which commence 08 August.


* edit - because Facebook was down when I made this post, I had linked to the wrong group when I was unable to check the facebook link. The group spawned by this campaign is SHAME ON RED CROSS and not the other group that I had linked Tibet WAS,IS,and ALWAYS WILL BE a part of China.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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