Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lawmakers urge Bush to boycott Olympics after Chinese officials prevent activist meeting

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday during a visit to Beijing, Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) urged President Bush to forgo his trip to the Olympics unless China releases political prisoners and takes other measures to shore up its human rights record, The Associated Press reported the same day.

The call comes in the wake of an incident Sunday in which Chinese officials prevented a group of nine dissidents from dining with the congressmen.

“This type of situation is not uncommon, we often experience similar restraints on our freedoms,” said Fan Yafeng, a legal scholar and researcher at the official Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who was among those barred from the dinner.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao seemed to imply that Smith and Wolf were to blame for the incident, which saw some invited activists detained or placed under house arrest. “We hope the U.S. congressman, while making a visit to China, while conducting relevant activities, respect Chinese laws and regulations and respect their commitments,” Liu told reporters.

The congressmen also used the occasion of the trip to present Li Zhaoxing, the head of the Chinese legislature’s Foreign Affairs Committee, with a list of 734 political prisoners and ask for their release.

For the full article, click here.


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