WASHINGTON – Sen. Sam Brownback says the Chinese government is pressuring U.S. hotels in Beijing to monitor their Internet traffic in the run-up to the Olympic games this summer.
Brownback, R-Kan., joined by other congressional human rights activists at a Capitol Hill park in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, also called on President Bush and other U.S. leaders to boycott the opening ceremonies that are now less than 100 days away.
The lawmakers blasted China's record on human rights, reciting allegations of torture, religious and free-speech abuse of their own citizens, oppression of Tibetans, military and economic support of genocide in Sudan, torture and execution of North Koreans and backing of the dictatorship in Myanmar.
Brownback learned of the Internet-blocking moves by the Chinese from two sources, but could not divulge much further information, someone familiar with the conversation told FOX News.
"What I just learned yesterday is that the Chinese government has issued an outrageous directive, in preparation for the Olympics .... American hotels have been ordered by the Chinese government to place monitors and filters on their Internet piping to facilitate spying on international guests and visitors," Brownback said.
"This is wrong, it's against international convention, it's certainly against the Olympic spirit. The Chinese government should not do that and should remove that request and that order."
The source close to the senator added that the Chinese action is "presumably to either monitor and or limit information coming in and out of China during the Olympics. ... We won't be able to provide any details as to where we got this information."
Brownback and the others — who were also joined by a sizeable group of human rights activists, as well as alleged victims of the Chinese government — had several other grievances to air about the Chinese government.
Brownback is tying the plight of North Koreans into the Olympics story and advising athletes to listen to their consciences before deciding whether to participate in the opening ceremonies this August.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., called China's record "a human rights record of shame." Sen. Jim Bunning called China's modern history "abysmal." Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said human rights are "worse today in China than they were 10 years ago."
"Dismal" was the adjective of choice for Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., made up his own word for what's going on in China: "Gender-cide," which he used to describe the government policy against birthing females to control population, which has reportedly manifested itself in some cases as government-required abortions.
Smith compared the Beijing Olympics to the 1936 games in Nazi Germany.
"When Berlin happened, and I'll conclude on this, a lot of people didn't know what the Nazis were all about. But we've had year after year of credible reporting of (the) Chinese government's human rights abuses, ... " Smith said.
"So I really believe it. I join my colleagues. President Bush — and no one else in this government — should be there for those opening ceremonies," he added.
FOX News' Trish Turner contributed to this report.