BEIJING GAMES 2008 - EU - 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

    MONTREAL, June 24 /CNW Telbec/ - 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
Pvttering 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.
    Pottering 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 (www.rsf.org).

    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
    HARMS, Rebecca, Vice-President (Germany)
    TURMES, Claude, Vice-President (France)
    FLAUTRE, Hélène, 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 BEGUIN, Marie Anne, Member (France)
    KALLENBACH, Gisela, Member (Germany)
    KUSSTATSCHER, Sepp, Member (Italy)
    LUCAS, Caroline, Member (UK)
    OZDEMIR, Cem, Member (Germany)
    ONESTA, Gérard, Member (France)
    SCHLYTER, Carl, Member (Sweden)
    SCHMIDT, Frithjof, Member (Germany)
    STAES, Bart, Member (Belgium)
    TRUPEL, 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-IVANYI, Istvan, 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, Joao de Deus, Vice-President (Portugal)
    SZAJER, Jozsef, Vice-President (Hungary)
    ZAHRADIL, Jan, Bureau Member (Czech Rep)
    McMILLAN-SCOTT, Edward, Bureau Member (UK)
    MAURO, Mario, Bureau Member (Italy)
    BAUER, Edit, Member (Slovakia)
    FOURE, Brigitte, Member (France)
    MANN, Thomas, Member (Germany)

    Socialist Group in the European Parliament

    DESIR, 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-Noelle, 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




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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