House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is blasting the Chinese government for arresting Chinese citizens who have applied for permits to protest at the Beijing Olympics.

"Instead of living up to their commitments it made to be allowed to host the Olympic Games, the Chinese government is using the Olympics as a justification to crackdown on peaceful human rights activists, censor foreign and domestic journalists, and displace Chinese individuals and families who have no legal recourse to protest the seizure of their homes or their land," Pelosi said in a statement released by her office last night.

"From media reports, we are now learning that the Chinese government-designated

Protests at the games must be applied for and approved by the Chinese government. The designated "protest parks," where sanctioned protests were to occur, have gone completely empty, however, as all 77 applications have been withdrawn or rejected, according to news reports.

Some applicants have been arrested and detained, and Pelosi pointed to two women sentenced to "re-education through labor" after they applied to protest. Pelosi also called on world leaders to press China to live up to commitments that it would allow protests at the games.

"The international community must shine the spotlight on the ordinary indignities and lack of legal and human rights protections that Chinese citizens face every day," Pelosi said. "World leaders attending the Olympic Games should use this opportunity to press China