Chinese take to streets to oppose Tibet independence

Chinese people in several cities took to the streets on Saturday to denounce Tibetan independence and call for a boycott of French goods.

Chinese take to streets to oppose Tibet independence

Chinese people in several cities took to the streets on Saturday to denounce Tibetan independence and call for a boycott of French goods following anti-China protests on the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay.

Pictures from the central city of Wuhan showed large crowds marching carrying banners reading: "Oppose Tibet independence, support the Olympics", and "Say no to French goods".

There were similar protests in the southeastern city of Hefei and the southwestern city of Kunming, with groups of people gathered outside branches of the French supermarket chain Carrefour.

In Beijing, there was a small protest at a Carrefour supermarket, though police soon ended it.

"We are trying to wake up Chinese people's patriotism to let them make an effort for the Olympic Games and to work together to protest against Tibetan separatist activities," one protester, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

A small group of people also gathered near the French embassy protesting disruptions to the Olympic torch relay in Paris, holding banners saying: "Tibet belongs to China" and "Shut up you French". Riot police sealed off the streets leading to the embassy, and the group soon dispersed.

France has tried to play down calls for a boycott of French goods, saying they were being made by a "very small minority" and Carrefour, which has more than 100 hypermarkets in China, has restated its support for Beijing's hosting of the Olympics

The official China Daily on Saturday quoted French ambassador to China, Herve Ladsous, as saying he regretted what happened in Paris, and that he would like to meet the disabled Chinese athlete targetted by protesters there.

"I deeply regret what happened during the torch relay in Paris," he said.

"I hope I can meet Jin Jing in person to show friendship and my deep regret," Ladsous added, refering to the disabled athlete, who has rocketed to national fame in China after fending off anti-China protesters in Paris.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, of masterminding the unrest as part of a bid for independence and with an eye to spoiling the Beijing Games. The Dalai Lama rejects the accusations and says he does not seek independence for Tibet.

The torch was in Bangkok on Saturday, where security was tight following sometimes violent attempts to disrupt the relay in Europe and the Americas earlier this month.

VERBAL ATTACKS

China continued its verbal attacks on the Dalai Lama on Saturday, blasting him in the overseas edition of the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, for trying to use the cause of human rights to advance his agenda.

"'Human rights' seems like a trump card that the Dalai has a keen interest in. He loves to play it, and he plays it well," the newspaper said in a commentary on its front page signed by a senior editor.

But his failure to condemn "the cruel injuries inflicted on innocent Tibetans and Chinese by hooligans and their burning of shops and schools", showed his true colours, it added.

"In the history of China and other countries, is it possible to find a 'human rights guard' like this?" the newspaper said.

The Dalai Lama has spoken out against the use of violence, calling for talks with China and backing the Beijing Games.

China says he is insincere, though.

Reuters
Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2008, 13:57
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