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China - 2008 Beijing Olympics 25 June 2008

IOC told it must request Chinese apology for offensive comments in Lhasa

Reporters Without Borders thinks that the International Olympic Committee has not gone far enough in its expression of “regret” today about the political message of hatred towards the Dalai Lama and his followers that two senior Communist Party officials made during the Olympic torch relay in Lhasa on 21 June.

“It is not enough for the IOC to express its regret about the extreme gravity of what happened in Tibet,” the press freedom organisation said. “The IOC’s president, Jacques Rogge, must request a public apology from those who made these comments and from the BOCOG. The IOC’s silence on human rights issues allows these excesses, in which the Olympic Games are used to justify repression in Tibet.” Reporters Without Borders already criticised the IOC’s silence on 23 June.

Agence France-Presse reported that the IOC issued an email statement today saying: “The IOC regrets that political statements were made during the closing ceremony of the torch relay in Tibet. We have written to BOCOG (Beijing Olympics Organising Committee) to remind them of the need to separate sport and politics.”

Zhang Qingli, the Communist Party’s secretary in Tibet, said during the Olympic flame ceremony in Lhasa: “In order to bring more glory to the Olympic spirit, we should firmly smash the plots to ruin the Beijing Olympic Games by the Dalai clique and hostile foreign forces inside and outside of the nation.” Qin Yizhi, another party official, also called for the Dalai Lama’s supporters to be “smashed.”

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