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China 10 July 2008

European Parliament condemns China’s lack of progress on human rights, parliament’s president says he will boycott Olympic opening ceremony

Reporters Without Borders welcomes a resolution adopted by the European Parliament today deploring the fact that Europe’s relations with China are only advancing on the commercial and economic fronts and have not been accompanied by any significant progress on human rights and democracy.

Condemning China’s “widespread and systematic human rights abuses,” the resolution reminds the Chinese authorities of the commitments they gave in 2001 when Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympic Games and urges them to seize the “historic opportunity” to ensure respect for human rights and pardon all political prisoners.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the Green Party group in the European Parliament, today condemned French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to attend the Olympic Games opening ceremony as “scandalous.” The Greens backed a resolution calling for a boycott of the ceremony if it was not preceded by significant progress on human rights.

Today’s resolution came one day after European Parliament president Hans-Gert Pöttering announced that he would not attend the opening ceremony because talks between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s representatives have been “inconclusive.”

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