US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned China yesterday not to use its massive Olympic security apparatus to crack down on legitimate dissent.
Beijing officials maintain the Olympics are threatened by terrorists and other extremists and some fear Chinese authorities could use that as an excuse to move against political opponents.
“Security threats have to be dealt with and that is fully understood by everybody, but security should not become in any way a cover to try and deal with dissent,” said Rice, who will head the US delegation to the Olympic closing ceremonies. “That would be unfortunate.”
US President George W. Bush will attend the opening ceremony on Aug. 8 to demonstrate US support for what Rice called “really a wonderful thing for China and the Chinese people.”
“We are hopeful that the Olympic Games will come off without a hitch,” Rice said, adding that Chinese authorities should make good on promises to “showcase not just the Olympics but an attitude of openness and tolerance.”