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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Carrefour takes China anti-French demos 'very seriously': Chief

April 20, 2008

The Economic Times
20 Apr, 2008

PARIS: A French supermarket chief said Saturday he was taking "very
seriously" anti-French protests and boycott calls in China over his
country's position on Tibet and the Olympic Games.

A state-run news agency in Beijing reported growing protests against
France on Saturday from the capital to the eastern cities of Hefei and
Qingdao, and in southwestern Kunming city, and in Wuhan -- without
providing any numbers.

It said crowds gathered in front of Carrefour branches, calling for a
boycott of the 122 supermarket outlets in China, and brandished slogans
against Tibet's independence.

"We're taking the situation very seriously" Jose Luis Duran, president
of the board of Carrefour, told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

"Apart from some localised incidents, we haven't noticed up to today any
significant impact on our turnover," he added.

Referring to anti-China protests on April 7 that disrupted the Paris-leg
of the Olympic torch relay, Duran said he was "not proud" of the images
broadcast around the world and that "a large portion of the Chinese
population was very shocked by the incidents".

"Boycotting the Olympic Games would be a mistake" he said, insisting
that Carrefour had "supported China's candidacy" to host them.

"The Games were given to China to allow it to demonstrate the progress
it has made over 20 years. I don't see why it should be deprived of that
opportunity today."

Duran also made it clear that Carrefour never interfers in a country
where it has stores' political or religious affairs. "The situation in
Tibet is complicated ... I am not going to pass judgement," he added.

The world's second largest retail giant firmly denied suggestions by the
Chinese media that it had been supporting the Dalai Lama.

Duran recognised that China had "a clear strategic importance for
Carrefour", where the group opened around 20 stores last year.
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