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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Olympics protests can't harm 'national interests'

August 5, 2008  (Canada)
August 3 2008

Tibetan National Sports Association manager Kalsang Dhondup, center
in blue, surrounded by Tibetan exiles, carries 'Freedom Torch' as a
protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet as the Beijing Olympics
draw near, in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2008. (AP / Ashwini Bhatia)

About 300 Uighur, and Tibetan residents in Japan and their supporters
march in protest against the Bejing Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday,
Aug. 3, 2008. (AP / Shizuo Kambayashi)

About 300 Uighur, and Tibetan residents in Japan and their supporters
march in protest against the Bejing Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday,
Aug. 3, 2008. (AP / Shizuo Kambayashi)

Those who wish to protest in Beijing during the Summer Olympics will
have to avoid harming "national interests," says the Games' security boss.

Liu Shaowu set out the rules in a statement posted Saturday on the
official Olympics news website.

"Assembling to march and protest is a citizen's right. But it must be
stressed that when exercising this right, citizens must respect and
not harm others' freedoms and rights and must not harm national,
social and collective interests," Liu said in the statement.

Chinese citizens must apply in writing with the police five days in advance.

Foreign dissident must submit an application to border authorities.

China's authoritarian Communist government has always put an emphasis
on maintaining social order versus allowing dissent. But it has
apparently agreed to allow some protest at the Beijing Games, which
open Friday, to blunt criticism.

The three protest parks it has opened are several kilometres away
from the main Olympic venue.

Although it has allowed some space for officially-sanctioned
protests, China has also tightened visa requirements that have
prevented representatives of groups like the Committee to Protect
Journalists from coming to Beijing.

China and the International Olympic Committee have come under fire
for China's controls on what websites foreign journalists can access.

IOC President Jacques Rogge denied Saturday that any deal had been
reached with Chinese authorities to allow such controls, which are
fully in place for China's general population.

Steve Chao, CTV's Beijing bureau chief, told Newsnet on Sunday that
many Chinese dissidents and journalists have been rounded up and
jailed ahead of the Games.

One Chinese woman who came to Beijing to apply to protest and found
herself picked up by police and returned to her home province, he said.

But domestically, "there is a great deal of national pride here at
the very fact that China has been given a chance to host this world
event, and that feeling is overshadowing other concerns," he said.

The Chinese government's line is that it has lifted hundreds of
millions of people out of poverty in just a few decades and that
people have more freedom that at any point in China's recent history, he said.

China can't control dissent everywhere, however.

* Protesters held small rallies in the Philippines and Japan
criticizing China's human rights record.
* In India, some pro-Tibet protesters are into the seventh day of a
hunger strike in New Delhi
* Authorities in Nepal, an important trading partner of China,
detained 253 Tibetan protesters on Sunday, but said they would be released.


The federal government has been largely silent about human rights
controversies surrounding the Beijing Games.

On July 14, Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson put out a news
release announcing his attendance at the Games from Aug. 7 to 11, but
didn't say anything about those wider issues.

"I've believed for a long time ... that you've got to engage China,"
Emerson told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.

"We've got issues around human rights, rule of law and those kinds of
issues. I've got to find a way to ensure that we can continue to
promote those issues with greatest effect. Although we have to
engage, we have to manage the relationship, and that's certainly
going to be a top priority for me."

Emerson said he anticipated many informal meetings and hoped to meet
with his Chinese counterpart while in Beijing.

With files from The Associated Press
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