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<-Back to WTN Archives Tibet Activists Oppose Beijing Bid in Moscow
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Wednesday, July 11, 2001



3. Tibet Activists Oppose Beijing Bid in Moscow


MOSCOW, 10 July (Reuters) - Tibetan activists joined hands with Russian
politicians on Tuesday to oppose Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics despite
apparent efforts by the Chinese embassy to stop them.

They also accused the Russian government of bowing to pressure from Beijing
by refusing to grant a visa to China's most famous exiled dissident, Wei
Jingsheng, who had planned to protest against the bid in Moscow.

With three days to go until the International Olympic Committee chooses
between Beijing, Toronto, Paris, Osaka and Istanbul, the activists said
granting China the Games would give it a carte blanche for further human
rights abuses.

Ngawang Gelek, chairman of the Tibet Culture and Information Centre in
Moscow, said media reports had misquoted Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai
Lama, suggesting he did not oppose the Beijing bid.

Gelek, the Dalai Lama's personal representative in Russia, quoted the
Tibetan leader as saying China deserved the Olympics in principle only
because of its size and population.

``However, the present situation is that the human rights situation in both
China and Tibet is deteriorating day by day,'' he continued.

``If the Olympics are awarded to Beijing, that will send a wrong message to
the Chinese people, so that means it is not appropriate, not appropriate, to
award the Olympic Games to Beijing at this time.''

DALAI OPPOSES BEIJING BID

The Dalai Lama was reported as saying on a recent trip to the United States
that China should be allowed to stage the Games if it would advance the
cause of human rights.

Those words have had considerable impact on the IOC, according to one senior
IOC member.

But Gelek dismissed the idea that granting Beijing the Olympics would make
it more accountable.

``There is no hope that the situation will improve,'' he said.

The Tibetan activists said the Chinese embassy in Moscow had sent an
official to tell the Russian Union of Journalists not to allow the news
conference on their premises.

``They gave two reasons -- firstly because of the coming visit of (Chinese
president) Jiang Zemin and secondly because of the IOC vote on July 13,''
said Tashi, Gelek's deputy.

The Chinese embassy and visiting officials from the Chinese Foreign Ministry
were not available for comment.

But Beijing bid officials said the activists did not represent the Tibetan
people, who they said were united in their support for Beijing.

Wang Wei, Secretary General of the Beijing Bid Committee, also suggested
awarding Beijing the Games might help to improve human rights in China.

``With the Games coming to China, it will be a boost to our economy, to our
social progress including many areas like education or including human
rights,'' he told reporters.

RUSSIA BLOCKS DISSIDENT

The activists said Wei had been refused a Russian visa because Beijing had
pressed Moscow not to sour the atmosphere ahead of a visit by Jiang next
week.

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Wei was sent into exile in the United States after serving an 18-year
sentence from 1979 to 1997 for advocating multi-party democracy.

He was among 20 high-profile dissidents released in 1993 when Beijing was
bidding for the 2000 Games.

Russian parliament member Sergei Kovalev and Transnational Radical Party
Coordinator Nikolai Khramov also urged the IOC not to grant the Games to
Beijing.

Kovalev, a former dissident and human rights campaigner said a Beijing
Olympics would bring back memories of the 1936 Games in Nazi Germany.

``Did that do any good for humanity?'' he asked.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. Eight Arrested as Tibetans Demonstrate Opposition to Beijing's Olympics Bid
  2. China Promotes Itself for Olympics (AP)
  3. Tibet Activists Oppose Beijing Bid in Moscow
  4. BP's inclusion in FTSE4Good index "inappropriate" say Tibet campaigners
  5. Tibet shown as part of Kashmir in papers (TD)
  6. Announcing Five Criminal Cases Involving Death Sentences (LXR)



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