Archive for the ‘29th Summer Olympics’ Category

China Brushes Off Boycott Call, Says Olympic Torch Still Heading to Tibet

March 19, 2008
by Charles Whelan

BEIJING (AFP) – China brushed off Olympic boycott calls Wednesday as it said the torch relay would go through Tibet and scale Mount Everest despite deadly unrest in the vast Himalayan region.

Chinese military trucks line a street in the Tibetan capital ...
Chinese military trucks line a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 17. China has brushed off Olympic boycott calls and insisted the Olympic torch relay would go through Tibet and scale Mount Everest despite deadly unrest in the vast Himalayan region.(AFP/File)

Jiang Xiaoyu, the vice president of the Olympic organising committee, said the route for the longest Olympic torch relay in history would be unaffected by the protests in Tibet that have triggered a huge security crackdown.

“The relay will proceed as scheduled,” Jiang told a news conference. “We firmly believe that the Tibetan Autonomous Region is able to ensure the stability of Lhasa.”

The relay is scheduled to scale the world’s highest peak during the first part of May and then return to Tibet from June 19-21, the last two days in the capital Lhasa.

Currently, the streets of Lhasa are saturated with security forces and foreign reporters are banned from travelling there…

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Calls mount for Olympic ceremony boycott

March 18, 2008
By JOHN LEICESTER, Associated Press Writer 

PARIS – Moves to punish China over its handling of violence in Tibet gained momentum Tuesday, with a novel suggestion for a mini-boycott of the Beijing Olympics by VIPs at the opening ceremony.
Hollywood actor and Tibet activist Richard Gere, seen here in ... 
Hollywood actor and Tibet activist Richard Gere Saturday called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games if China “does not act in the proper way” in handling protests in the Himalayan region.
(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jim McIsaac)

Protesters demonstrate against the Olympic Games in Beijing ...
Protesters demonstrate against the Olympic Games in Beijing in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 18, 2008. Tibetans called on IOC President Jacques Rogge to speak up about the Tibet crackdown and ask for the withdrawal of the torch relay in Tibet.
(AP Photo/Keystone, Dominic Favre)

Such a protest by world leaders would be a huge slap in the face for China’s Communist leadership.

France‘s outspoken foreign minister, former humanitarian campaigner Bernard Kouchner, said the idea “is interesting.”

Kouchner said he wants to discuss it with other foreign ministers from the 27-nation European Union next week. His comments opened a crack in what until now had been solid opposition to a full boycott, a stance that Kouchner said remains the official government position.

The idea of skipping the Aug. 8 opening ceremony “is less negative than a general boycott,” Kouchner said. “We are considering it.”

Asked about Kouchner’s statement, China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said: “Certainly I think what he said is not shared by most of the people in the world.”

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said last month that he expects many heads of state — including President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy — to attend the opening ceremony.

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Denounces Supporters of the Dalai Lama

March 18, 2008
By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao denounced supporters of the Dalai Lama as separatists and instigators of violent anti-Chinese riots in Tibet’s capital, taking a hard stance Tuesday as a deadline for protesters to turn themselves in passed without apparent surrenders.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to reporters at a press conference ...
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to reporters at a press conference after the closing ceremony of the National People’s Congress in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People Tuesday, March 18, 2007. The annual session of China’s ceremonial parliament was drawing to a close Tuesday, overshadowed by deadly anti-government protests in Tibet.
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Wen’s remarks were the highest-level response to last week’s rampage in Lhasa, which the government has said killed 16 people and injured dozens.

“There is ample fact — and we also have plenty of evidence — proving that this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique,” Wen told reporters at a news conference held at the end of China‘s national legislative meeting but did not give any details.

“This has all the more revealed that the consistent claims made by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence but peaceful dialogue are nothing but lies,” he said. “Their hypocritical lies cannot cover the unclad facts.”

He also dismissed claims by the exiled Dalai Lama that there was “cultural genocide” taking place in his homeland.

The hardline stance taken by the normally mild-manner Wen underscored the communist leadership’s determination to regain control over the region and ensure a smooth run up to this summer’s Beijing Olympics.

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Tibet and the Ghosts of Tiananmen

March 18, 2008

By Bill Powell
Beijing
TIME Magazine

It is still nearly five months before the Olympic torch is to be lit in Beijing, officially starting the 29th summer Olympics. But, diplomats in the Chinese capital believe that a high level game of chicken has already begun, one that has now turned deadly – first, in Lhasa, the capital of what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region, and now elsewhere, according to Tibetan exiles and human rights groups.

A demonstrator rallies against China's deadly crackdown ...
A demonstrator rallies against China’s deadly crackdown on pro-independence protesters in Tibet. The United States said Monday it would increase radio broadcasts to Tibet as China clamped down on media coverage of the bloody protests in the Himalayan territory.(AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

Yesterday, in China’s Sichuan province, at least eight bodies were brought to a Buddhist monastery in Aba prefecture, allegedly shot dead by Chinese riot control police, according to an eyewitness account quoted by Radio Free Asia. The escalating confrontation in and around Tibet is a nightmare for China’s top leadership, but one, some diplomats believe, that could not have taken anyone in the central government completely by surprise. It pits the leadership in Beijing against its domestic opponents – who include not only Tibetan dissidents, but also separatist groups in the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang, as well as human rights and political activists throughout the country.

Each side understood that the months leading up to the Games would be “extremely sensitive,” as one diplomat put it. The government knew “from day one,” another diplomat told TIME, that “a successful bid for the games would bring an unprecedented – and in some cases very harsh – spotlight” on China and how it is governed. On the other side, everyone from human rights activists to independence seeking dissidents in Tibet and Xinjiang – “splittists” in the Chinese vernacular – knew they would have an opportunity to push their agendas while the world was watching. “Thought the specific trigger for this in Tibet is still unclear, that it intensified so quickly is probably not just an accident,” the senior diplomat says.

According to this view, it was never hard to imagine a scenario in which some group – and maybe several – would push things, try “to probe and see whether they could test limits.” The critical issue, now front and center, diplomats say, is just how far angry Tibetan activists will push – and how harshly the Chinese government will push back.

How extensive…

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/tibetandtheghost
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