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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?"

Athletes urged to act on Tibet

August 5, 2008

August 4 2008

European Parliament president, Hans-Gert Pottering, has called on
Olympic athletes to demonstrate against human rights abuses when they
line up in China, saying one could not "forget" Tibet.

"I would like to encourage the athletes, men and women, to look at
things as they are, and not to turn away," he wrote in a column for
the German Bild am Sonntag.

"Each athlete can, in their own way, give a signal. No official
should prevent that," he added, insisting that a love of sport and
the Olympic Games is no excuse for "blurring our outlook" on human rights.

"It is our duty not to forget the people of Tibet, who are fighting
for their cultural survival," Pottering said.

Criticising the pace of talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama's
representatives, "so far without success," Pottering highlighted the
Tibetan spiritual leader's planned appearance at the parliament in
Strasbourg on December 4.

The Games, which start on Friday and run through until August 24, are
being seen by many world leaders as an opportunity to pressure China
into rights concessions, particularly with regard to Tibet.

March protests in Lhasa erupted into riots, prompting a brutal
crackdown by Chinese authorities.

Exiled Tibetan leaders say 203 people died in the clampdown, which
spread to neighbouring Tibetan-inhabited provinces of western and
southwest China.

China has reported killing one Tibetan "insurgent," while accusing
"rioters" of killing 21 people.
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