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China Unmoved by Activists' Pressure Ahead of Olympics

February 4, 2008

Christian Post Reporter
Friday, February 01, 2008
By Peter B. Beita

China reiterated that it will not bow down to "any pressure from any
individuals or groups" and said "no one should politicize" Beijing
Olympics amid increasing calls from various activists.

Seemingly disturbed at activists around the globe trying to exert
pressure on its policies on various issues ranging from freedom of
religion to independence for Tibet and Taiwan, China’s harsh response
was published in a state leading newspaper – the People’s Daily.

"As the Beijing Olympics have become a popular talking point around the
world, some who look at the Chinese people with tinted spectacles have
created a sort of baffling ‘excitement,’” says a commentary in the
Communist party mouthpiece.

It further added that China faces "accusations from all over the world,
including misunderstandings, sarcasm and very harsh criticism."

In an apparent reference to actress Mia Farrow, who has been leading a
global campaign for China to change its policies in Sudan, whose
government Beijing sells weapons to and buys oil from, the paper said
groups had tried to recruit “stars” to take up their cause.

China will never bow to any pressure, it said.

“They believe they can exert enough pressure on the Chinese Government
to force China into a situation where it cannot but do their bidding.
These people have made the wrong calculation.”

U.S. human rights activists have urged people not to travel to Beijing
to attend the 2008 Olympics unless China grants the United Nation’s
refugee agency, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees),
access to North Koreans hiding in its territory.

Earlier this month, China’s government reportedly decided to allow about
40 North Korean refugees to leave for a third country, such as South
Korea or the United States, months before the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

China usually sends back refuges to North Korea where they face
imprisonment, torture, and sometimes execution for leaving the country –
a state crime. The Chinese government is suspected of making the
decision to prevent the issue from overshadowing the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The officially atheist government has said it will guarantee religious
freedom during the Summer Olympics in Beijing this year. But many
reports have surfaced in recent months about China's increasing
crackdowns, such as those on Christian activities taking place outside
of government-sanctioned churches.

A spokeswoman for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic
Games, Wang Hui, said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday that any
decision to boycott was “unfair.”

"The Olympics is a harmonious, competitive and beneficial sports event
as well as a significant festival for all the people in the world," she

"What we would like to see is as many as possible high profile public
figures making a principled decision to stop at home – and watch it on TV.

As activists around the world intensified their campaigns against
Chinese policies, China continues to react sharply and in a timely manner.

"No country in the world will compromise its core interests to host the
Olympics," the People's Daily article stated, accusing critics of
hurting the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese people.

“If at each subsequent Olympics people stand up and use politics to
maliciously attack the host nation, and use ideology to draw up
boycotts, where does that leave the Olympic spirit?” it asked.

Open Doors, a ministry working with persecuted churches, in June 2007
launched its initiative to “blanket China in prayer” – a one year
campaign to pray for a spiritual change in China from Aug. 8, 2007 to
Aug. 8, 2008, the first day of the Beijing Olympics.
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