A White House announcement that US President George W. Bush will attend the Olympic Games opening ceremony on 8 August in Beijing and the probability, according to French media reports, that French President Nicolas Sarkozy will also attend were condemned today by Reporters Without Borders as "a capitulation and stab in the back for China’s dissidents."
"President Sarkozy promised to consult his European partners before taking a decision but he clearly has not done so, just as he did not keep his election campaign promises not to pursue a ’realpolitik’ and to put human rights at the heart of his programme," the press freedom organisation said.
"Sarkozy also conditioned his attendance on a resumption of the dialogue on Tibet, and meetings did indeed take place recently between China and the Dalai Lama’s representatives, but so far there have been no concrete results and Chinese officials have continued their virulent criticism of Tibetan leaders in the press.
"Sarkozy and Bush are now depriving themselves of a means of leverage that might have led to the release of imprisoned journalists and human rights activists. We would like to know on what grounds these two presidents have reached their decision. There is still a month to go before the start of the 2008 Olympics. Now is the time for a massive campaign for an improvement in the situation of free expression in China. We appeal now for demonstrations outside Chinese embassies all over the world during the Olympic Games opening ceremony on 8 August...
Reporters without Borders:
at 1:59 PM