Sat, May 03, 2008 - Page 1 News List

US senator accuses China of turning hotels into spies


A US senator accused the Chinese government on Thursday of ordering US-owned hotels in China to install Internet filters that can spy on international visitors coming to see the Olympic Games.

Republican Senator Sam Brownback made the charge at a news conference where he and other lawmakers denounced China’s record of human-rights abuses and urged US President George W. Bush not to attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing.

“This is wrong, it’s against international conventions, it’s certainly against the Olympic spirit,” Brownback said. “The Chinese government should remove that request and that order.”

Brownback said he had seen the language of memos received by at least two US-owned hotels. He declined to name them, and said he obtained the information from two “reliable but confidential sources” in the hope that public pressure would persuade the Chinese government to back off the demand.

The senator called China “the foremost enabler of human-rights abuses around the world” and said the Chinese government is turning the summer games into “an Olympics of oppression.”

A telephone call to the Chinese embassy for reaction on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Other lawmakers at the news conference condemned Beijing for supporting repressive governments in Sudan and Myanmar, suppressing dissent in Tibet and forcibly returning North Korean refugees who flee across the border.

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