There’s nothing like a billion-dollar, media-happy, corporate-sponsored international event like the Olympics to shed some light on human rights. We at Autonomie are proud and pleased that thousands of protesters have taken the streets across the globe to raise awareness of the ongoing presence of sweatshops and labor rights abuses that remain the popular way of doing business for America’s favorite import buddy and host of this summer’s olympics, China.

Even as the Fair Trade and green movements grow larger and stronger, our country still cannot resist the cheap (and cheaply made) goods that flow freely out of China and into our Wal-marts. Even with lead paint in children’s toys and the mainstream ‘going green’, the behemoth of export goods remains king of the American marketplace.

You’ve probably already read about these protests in your local newspaper (they are getting quite the media play) and we hope that you’ll take the streets too and join the movement to encourage China to use this attention-grabbing opportunity to clean up its act. The Olympic torch arrives today in San Francisco and police have been preparing all week to keep the estimated masses at bay (following the queue of the protests – and arrests – already happening in London and Paris). Check out these brave American protesters who scaled the Golden Gate Bridge (yikes!!), and now face charges of trespassing and conspiracy, in order to show their support of Tibet:

For those of you who don’t know, China is a one-party state without free elections, lacks an independent judiciary, censors the media and the internet, and bans independent trade unions (which is a matter at the heart of their worker rights and sweatshop issues and abuses). Their monopoly on export manufacturing has also led to the economic down slide of other countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and even our own USA, as more and more factories close up shop, lay off workers, and become victims to the Chinese love of the Corporate bottom line.

So join our friends at Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange, and Code Pink in bringing human rights to the Chinese people, and remember to always support the small worker groups under Fair Trade!