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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."

US says China has 'nothing to fear' from Internet

August 2, 2008

AFP
July 31, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The United States on Wednesday ramped up pressure on
China to live up to Olympic ideals by ending human rights abuses, as
President George W. Bush promised "nothing to fear" from Internet freedom.

With nine days remaining before the Games begin in Beijing, China
sparked an uproar with its plans to censor the Internet during the
Olympics, and US lawmakers responded by passing a resolution urging
China to change its ways.

"President Bush has long said that China has nothing to fear from
greater access to the Internet or to the press or from more religious
freedom and human freedom and human rights," press secretary Dana Perino said.

"And that's one of the things that he talked about yesterday with the
dissidents he met with, here at the White House," she said, declining
to comment directly on China's decision to reverse a pledge to allow
unfettered web access for foreign press covering the Games August 8-24.

"We want to see more access for reporters, we want to see more access
for everybody in China to be able to have access to the Internet," Perino said.

"We think that China would be enhanced and continue to prosper if
they allowed for more freedom."

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives voted 419 to 1 to endorse
a resolution asking China to "immediately end abuses of the human
rights of its citizens, to cease repression of Tibetan and Uighur
citizens, and to end its support for the governments of Sudan and
Burma (Myanmar)."

Such action would "ensure that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games take
place in an atmosphere that honors the Olympic traditions of freedom
and openness," the resolution said.

"In exchange for the privilege of hosting the Olympic Games, the
Chinese government made commitments on freedom of the press, human
rights, and on the environment," House speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

"Any of these commitments have been violated repeatedly and blatantly."

Pelosi also called on Bush to use the "tremendous leverage" of his
August 8 attendance at the Games opening ceremony to press Beijing on
human rights, trade protectionism and the safety of Chinese food exports.

Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, said
China had failed to improve its record on human rights during the
run-up to the Games.

"Now is the time to call on China to take immediate, substantial and
serious action if there is to be any hope that the Olympic Games will
take place in an atmosphere that honors the Olympic spirit of freedom
and openness," he said.

Beijing Olympic organizing committee spokesman Sun Weide triggered
the latest public relations flare-up when he confirmed that foreign
reporters would not have access to some sites deemed sensitive by
China's communist rulers.

"During the Olympic Games we will provide sufficient access to the
Internet for reporters," Sun said Wednesday.

However, "sufficient access" falls short of the complete Internet
freedoms for foreign reporters that China had promised in the run-up
to the Games.

The news also proved an embarrassment for the International Olympic
Committee (IOC), which had repeatedly said foreign press would not
face any Internet curbs in Beijing.
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