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Beijing Games 2008 - EU 24 June 2008

Sarkozy urged to adopt boycott of opening ceremony at meeting with heads of European Parliament groups
Call for opening ceremony boycott already signed by 53 MEPs

Reporters Without Borders calls on France and its European partners to come out in favour of a boycott of the 8 August Olympic Games opening ceremony in Beijing when French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets tomorrow with European Parliament president Hans-Gert Pöttering and the presidents of all the political groups in the parliament.

In a 10 April resolution, the European Parliament called on the European Union presidency “to strive to find a common EU position with regard to the attendance of the heads of government and of state and the EU high representative at the Olympic Games opening ceremony, with the option of non-attendance in the event that there is no resumption of dialogue between the Chinese authorities and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

At the initiative of Reporters Without Borders, 53 Members of the European Parliament have already given concrete expression to a European commitment by signing an appeal for a boycott of the opening ceremony by heads of state and government (see the list of initial signatories below).

“President Sarkozy clearly stated that his attendance at the opening ceremony was conditioned on a resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s representatives,” Reporters Without Borders said. “But the process has gone nowhere and when the United States and the EU recently issued a joint appeal for ‘results-oriented’ talks on Tibet, it was rejected by China as meddling in its internal affairs. The Chinese authorities are also barring foreign journalists from Tibet and Xinjiang while massive roundups and reeducation campaigns are under way there.”

Crackdowns on Chinese cyber-dissidents and journalists have been stepped up in recent months. Hu Jia, a leading dissident who was nominated for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2007, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for inciting subversion.

Pöttering said in a 31 December statement : “I very much hope that “the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 will be an opportunity for China to demonstrate that a country hosting the world’s most important sports event is committed to internationally recognized human rights standards including freedom of expression. The immediate release of Hu Jia would be an important signal in this direction”.

With less than two months to go to the start of the Olympics, around 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents, bloggers and Internet users are still imprisoned in China. The government never kept the promises it gave in 2001, when Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympics, to improve respect for human rights.

More information about the Reporters Without Borders Beijing 2008 campaign is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese at the organisation’s website (

Members of the European Parliament who have signed the call for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Greens / European Free Alliance

FRASSONI, Monica, Co-President COHN-BENDIT, Daniel, CO-President HARMS, Rebecca, Vice-President (Germany) TURMES, Claude, Vice-President (France) FLAUTRE, Hélčne, Chair of the Human Rights Subcommitte (France) BEER, Angelika, Member (Germany) BENNAHMIAS, Jean-Luc, Member (France) BREYER, Hiltrud, Member (Germany) DE GROEN-KOUWENHOVEN, Elly, Member (Netherlands) ISLER BÉGUIN, Marie Anne, Member (France) KALLENBACH, Gisela, Member (Germany) KUSSTATSCHER, Sepp, Member (Italy) LUCAS, Caroline, Member (UK) ÖZDEMIR, Cem, Member (Germany) ONESTA, Gérard, Member (France) SCHLYTER, Carl, Member (Sweden) SCHMIDT, Frithjof, Member (Germany) STAES, Bart, Member (Belgium) TRÜPEL, Helga, Member (Germany)

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

WALLIS, Diana, Bureau Member (UK) MAATEN, Jules, Bureau Member (Netherlands) ROGALSKI, Boguslaw, Member (Poland) RIES, Frédérique, Bureau Member (Belgium) SZENT-IVÁNYI, István, Bureau Member (Hungary) ATTWOOLL, Elspeth, Member (UK) BIRUTIS, Sarunas, Member (Lithuania) WEBER, Renate, Member (Roumanie)

European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats

PINHEIRO, Joăo de Deus, Vice-President (Portugal) SZÁJER, József, Vice-President (Hungary) ZAHRADIL, Jan, Bureau Member (Czech Rep) McMILLAN-SCOTT, Edward, Bureau Member (UK) MAURO, Mario, Bureau Member (Italy) BAUER, Edit, Member (Slovakia) FOURÉ, Brigitte, Member (France) MANN, Thomas, Member (Germany)

Socialist Group in the European Parliament

DÉSIR, Harlem, Vice-President (France) NAPOLETANO, Pasqualina, Vice-President (Italy) CARLOTTI, Marie-Arlette, Member (France) CASTEX, Françoise, Member (France) CORDA, Giovanna, Member (Belgium) EVANS, Robert, Member (UK) GERINGER de OEDENBERG, Lidia Joanna, Member (Poland) GRUBER, Lilli, Member (Italy) HAZAN, Adeline, Member (France) LAIGNEL, André, Member (France) LIENEMANN, Marie-Noëlle, Member (France) NAVARRO, Robert, Member (France) SAKALAS, Aloyzas, Member (Lithuania) VAUGRENARD, Yannick, Member (France)

Union for Europe of the Nations

CZARNECKI, Ryszard, Treasurer (Poland) CZARNECKI, Marek Aleksander, Member (Poland) FOLTYN-KUBICKA, Hanna, Member (Poland) KRISTOVSKIS, Girts Valdis, Member (Latvia) LIBICKI, Marcin, Member (Poland)

Independence/Democracy Group

SINNOTT, Kathy, Bureau Member

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