Sunday, March 16, 2008

World condemns China as Olympic doubts grow

AFP, Paris - Taiwan led sweeping condemnation Saturday of China's brutal crackdown on protestors in Tibet and accused Beijing of trying to gloss over its rights record with Olympic sheen.

About 30 people have been killed during unrest in Lhasa, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile in India, although China's state-run Xinhua news agency earlier put the figure at 10, citing government officials.

The arm-flexing has caused newspapers around the world to start talking about a possible boycott of the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing.

"This incident fully reflects the Chinese government's characteristics: dictatorship and bullying. Such a government won't tolerate the Tibetan people in their pursuit of speech of freedom," pro-independence President Chen Shui-bian told a crowd in southern Chiayi city.

Taiwan's foreign ministry added in a statement that "China attempts to promote the illusion of its 'peaceful rise' by hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics but in fact it targets Taiwan with missiles and suppresses Tibetan people's pursuit for freedom and democracy."

Beijing still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification -- the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war -- and has repeatedly threatened to invade should it declare formal independence.

The Tibetan issue is already a source of tension between New Delhi and Beijing, with India playing host to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama as well as his government-in-exile.
"We are distressed by reports of the unsettled situation and violence in Lhasa, and by the deaths of innocent people," India's foreign ministry said in a statement.


No comments: