Fri, Aug 03, 2007 - Page 1 News List

DPP lawmakers call for boycott of 2008 Olympics

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday called for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to protest against a Chinese government policy that would bar 43 categories of "unwanted" people from attending the games.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security issued a directive to its agencies around the country in early April demanding strict background checks for anyone who applies for entry into the country ahead of the Olympics, the lawmakers said.

The directive lists Falun Gong practitioners, activists for an independent Xinjiang or Tibet, religious extremists and other categories of dissidents among those who will not be allowed to enter the country, they said.

"The whole world should refuse to be part of the games because the Chinese government initiated its boycott first," Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲), a DPP legislator-at-large nominee in January's legislative elections, said at a press conference.

Twu said "people of conscience" would be barred from entry.

"Who would support the kind of government that has used its authority to ruthlessly eliminate anyone who is not behind it?" Twu said.

DPP Legislator William Lai (賴清德) said that China had not only failed to fulfill the promise it made to improve human rights when it applied to host the 2008 Olympics, but had also violated the fundamental principles of the Olympics by drawing up its blacklist.

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) is planning to hold a global human rights torch relay to draw attention to allegations of human-rights abuses.

The alternative torch relay is set to kick off in Greece next Thursday and cover more than a hundred cities in dozens of countries on five continents.

It will arrive in Taiwan next June.

The CIPFG was formed last year to enable persons around the world to help investigate the persecution of Falun Gong members in China.

Also present at the appeal yesterday was Rinzin Tsering, the chairman of the Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association representing Tibetans in Taiwan.

He voiced his support for a group of 14 Tibetans in India who have been on a hunger strike since July 8.

The group is demanding accountability from China for its gross violations of basic human rights and freedoms in Tibet, Tsering said.

"[The hunger strike] is a message of support for the freedom of Tibet and our people's determination to fight for our cause to the end," he said.

He appealed to the international community to convince politicians and governments to pressure Beijing to respect human rights.

He also said that holding the Olympics in China was an injustice to the millions of people who have suffered under the Chinese regime and a betrayal of Olympic principles, as the event should be for people who love peace, friendship, human rights and democracy.

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