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EU parliament wants member nations to consider joint boycott of Olympics opening ceremony

EU parliament wants member nations to consider joint boycott of Olympics opening ceremony

The European Parliament on Thursday urged European Union governments to consider a 27-nation boycott of the Olympics opening ceremony if China does not resume talks with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader.
The parliament approved a resolution calling on the governments to explore "the option of nonattendance in the event there is no resumption of dialogue" with the Tibetan side.
Nations around the world are ruling out a full boycott of the games. But snubbing the opening ceremony en masse would be a potent signal to embarrass Chinese authorities and express displeasure over their handling of the anti-government protests in Tibet that turned violent last month.
The European Parliament also urged China "not to misuse the 2008 Olympic Games by arresting dissidents, journalists and human rights activists in order to prevent demonstrations and reports which the authorities view as embarrassing."
The resolution was approved by a vote of 580-24 with 45 abstentions. It also called for an end to censorship.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced he would skip the ceremony. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have also said they plan to stay away, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy is considering not attending.
The White House has left open the possibility that U.S. President George W. Bush might also skip the opening ceremonies.
The announcement of nonattendance by almost any dignitary has been portrayed as an embarrassment to China. Earlier opening ceremonies, though, often had many of the world's leaders missing.
In Athens, the United States was represented by former U.S. President George Bush, the father of the current president.
Still, the EU parliament made its point.
"All EU member states should unite behind a common position, sending an ultimatum to the Chinese authorities that if they wish to have the political legitimacy at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, then they have until Aug. 8 to open meaningful dialogue," said Graham Watson, the leader of the parliament's Liberals.


Updated : 2021-10-21 00:43 GMT+08:00