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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China Angered by Lobbying on Rights

August 2, 2008

By Andrew Jacobs
The New York Times
August 1, 2008

BEIJING -- In response to President Bush's meeting with prominent
Chinese dissidents at the White House, Beijing on Thursday sharply
condemned Washington for interfering in China's domestic affairs and
accused American legislators of politicizing the Olympics.

Shortly after Mr. Bush held talks Tuesday with the five dissidents --
Harry Wu, Wei Jingsheng, Rebiya Kadeer, Sasha Gong and Bob Fu -- the
U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution urging China to
honor its pledge to improve human rights before the Games, which
begin Aug. 8. The resolution passed 419 to 1.

During a news conference Thursday, Liu Jianchao, a Foreign Ministry
spokesman, described the House measure as "odious conduct" and said
the United States should stop "making use of so-called religious and
human rights" issues to score political points, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Chinese authorities also remained resolute about their decision
to maintain a firewall on the Internet and limit access for
journalists covering the Olympics. Senior officials with the
International Olympic Committee, or IOC, have said they were stunned
to learn Wednesday that Beijing's longstanding pledge to provide
foreign reporters with unfettered access would not be honored.

Kevan Gosper, a former Olympic athlete from Australia and the chief
of the IOC press commission in Beijing, said he had been assured that
visiting journalists would have no limitations on their Internet use
during the Games. But he said Wednesday that other IOC officials,
whom he did not identify, had agreed to let some Web sites be
blocked. Olympic organizers say they are trying to convince the
government to reconsider its decision to limit access.

In an interview Thursday, Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing
Olympic organizing committee, said reporters arriving in China in the
coming week should not expect access to sites that discuss topics
such as Tibet, Taiwanese independence or the Falun Gong, a banned
religious group that China has deemed an "evil cult." Such sites, he
said, "contain information that is in breach of Chinese law."

He also stressed that the number of banned sites were few -- although
he declined to provide a precise number -- and he insisted that
reporters would have no limitations in covering athletic events. Mr.
Sun said the authorities would not monitor the personal e-mails of
reporters at the Olympics' main press center. "We always have been
following international law on such matters," he said.
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