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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."

Protesters: No torch Relay Through Tibet

May 29, 2008

Worry about violence
Gene Davis, DDN Staff Writer
Denver Daily News (Colorado)
May 28, 2008
        
CHANGE THAT COURSE! - Protesters march in Colorado Springs yesterday in support of Tibet.

Having the Olympic Torch Relay go through Tibet in June could result in more violence and murders in the Asian province, according to activists who protested yesterday outside of the International Olympic Headquarters in Colorado Springs.

"No one wants lives to be lost because of the Olympic torch," said Dawn Engle, the president of Colorado Friends of Tibet. "That’s the opposite of what the Olympics are about."

Around 100 Tibet supporters showed up for yesterday morning’s march that went from the Colorado Springs City Hall to the National Olympic Headquarters. The demonstration was part of the Freedom Torch Bike Relay, which started in Denver on Memorial Day and will travel to more than 50 cities across the world. The event aims to raise awareness for Tibetans’ struggle for freedom and justice.

"We respect the right for individuals to peacefully gather and express their point of view," said Darryl Seibel, spokesperson for the United States Olympic Committee, in a written statement.

PEOPLE WILL DIE

Because Tibet is in a military state and is in very tense opposition to China’s rule, Engle worries that "emotions are so strong, many more people will die” if the torch goes through the province. Decisions regarding the route for the torch relay are made by the Beijing Games Organizing Committee and approved by the International Olympic Committee.

"We want to keep the pressure on and are hoping it doesn’t got through Tibet at all," Engle exclaimed.

OPENING CEREMONY

The Tibet supporters also suggested that President Bush should not attend the Olympic opening ceremony unless there’s a substantial positive outcome of negotiations between China and the Dalai Lama.

"The Chinese have kept saying that they will do negotiations with the Dalai Lama, but negotiations haven’t begun," said Engle. “Now is the perfect opportunity to say, ‘If you want us to be on your side, you have to respect basic human rights.’"

Leaders of other countries, including Germany and France, have agreed to partial boycotts of the Olympics unless negotiations between China and Tibet happen.

STILL HOPEFUL

Engle expressed hope that China would still reach out to Tibet to help bring a resolution to the long-simmering conflict. She said having the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but that China needs to change its human rights policy quickly.

"To engage China and allow them to become part of the world community was a reason to have the Olympics there," Engle explained. “With that benefit comes responsibility. If you want the right of being a world leader, you have to respect human rights."
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