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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

2008 Beijing Games - Presence of Bush and (probably) Sarkozy at opening ceremony called "stab in back" for China's dissidents

July 6, 2008

Press Release
Canada NewsWire, Canada
July 4, 2008

MONTREAL, July 4 /CNW Telbec/ - A White House announcement that US
President George W. Bush will attend the Olympic Games opening
ceremony on 8 August in Beijing and the probability, according to
French media reports, that French President Nicolas Sarkozy will also
attend were condemned today by Reporters Without Borders as "a
capitulation and stab in the back for China's dissidents."

"President Sarkozy promised to consult his European partners before
taking a decision but he clearly has not done so, just as he did not
keep his election campaign promises not to pursue a 'realpolitik' and
to put human rights at the heart of his programme," the press freedom
organisation said.

"Sarkozy also conditioned his attendance on a resumption of the
dialogue on Tibet, and meetings did indeed take place recently
between China and the Dalai Lama's representatives, but so far there
have been no concrete results and Chinese officials have continued
their virulent criticism of Tibetan leaders in the press.

"Sarkozy and Bush are now depriving themselves of a means of leverage
that might have led to the release of imprisoned journalists and
human rights activists. We would like to know on what grounds these
two presidents have reached their decision. There is still a month to
go before the start of the 2008 Olympics. Now is the time for a
massive campaign for an improvement in the situation of free
expression in China. We appeal now for demonstrations outside Chinese
embassies all over the world during the Olympic Games opening
ceremony on 8 August.

"As we do not have permission to go to China, still less to
demonstrate there, we will organise a cyber-demonstration outside a
virtual version of Beijing's Olympic Stadium on our website
(, which will begin on 8 August and will continue
throughout the games. Everyone will be able to participate in this
protest and express their disagreement with the detention of
prisoners of conscience and the continuing crackdown on dissidents.

"There has been no improvement in the situation of free expression in
recent months and arrests are continuing at the same pace," Reporters
Without Borders added. "Huang Qi, the well-known editor of a human
rights website, was arrested in June in Sichuan province, while
journalist Sun Lin was given a four-year prison sentence for
contributing to a website based outside China."

The announcement that President Bush and his wife will attend the
opening ceremony was made yesterday by the White House.

The Elysée Palace has said that President Sarkozy will announce
"whether or not" he will go to Beijing after meeting with Chinese
President Hu Jintao during the G-8 summit on 8-9 July in Japan. But
the media have quoted various French officials, including France's
ambassador to China, as saying that Sarkozy will definitely be in
Beijing on 8 August. Sarkozy has also reportedly said this to his
party's legislators.

Reporters Without Borders has for several months been calling for a
boycott of the 8 August Olympic Games opening ceremony by heads of
state and government and members of royal families. The governments
of Poland, Estonia, Austria and the Czech Republic have already
announced that they will not send any representative to the opening
ceremony. Britain's Prince Charles was the first to let it be known
that he would not go to Beijing for the games.

With a month to go to the Beijing Olympics, around 100 journalists,
cyber-dissidents, bloggers and Internet users are imprisoned in
China. The Chinese authorities have not kept the promises to improve
respect for human which they gave in 2001, when Beijing was chosen to
host the 2008 Olympics.

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Secretary General,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111,;
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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