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UK's Brown arrives in Beijing for Olympics' close

UK's Brown arrives in Beijing for Olympics' close

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown avoided public criticism of the Chinese government's human rights record Friday as he met the country's leaders in Beijing and prepared to attend the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.
Brown held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and was to meet later with Premier Wen Jiabao.
The British leader steered clear of human rights in comments he made during his meeting with Hu at the Great Hall of the People while reporters were present.
He congratulated Beijing on the "spectacular success" of the games and the Chinese athletes _ the host country has topped the gold medal table _ and talked briefly about London's preparations for the 2012 games.
"With the whole world watching, the Beijing Olympics have captured the imagination of the entire global community," Brown said. "The 2008 Beijing Olympics have set a new standard for the Olympic Games which we in London in 2012 will seek to follow."
The handover from Beijing to London will officially take place during Sunday's closing ceremony, with the Olympic flag turned over to London Mayor Boris Johnson.
English football icon David Beckham is expected to take part in the eight-minute handover segment of the ceremony, which is also likely to feature a red double-decker bus and performances by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and pop singer Leona Lewis.
British media reports said Brown wrote in a letter issued Wednesday to British opposition Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg that he would use his trip to China to increase pressure on Beijing on human rights issues.
Brown reportedly said in his letter that "support for the games and engagement with China is not at the expense of human rights."
A pro-Tibet group challenged Brown's statement, saying that human rights in Tibet have deteriorated directly as a result of China staging the games.
"Huge areas of Tibet deemed likely to protest during the Olympics, such as Kandze and Ngaba, are currently under military lockdown with checkpoints and curfews making movement in and out of the towns practically impossible," Stephanie Brigden, director of Free Tibet Campaign, said in a statement.
The group urged Brown to publicly raise rights issues during his visit to Beijing.
Brown did not attend the Aug. 8 Olympics opening ceremony.
Some leaders had suggested skipping the opening ceremony would serve as a signal of displeasure over China's March crackdown in Tibet, but Brown's Downing Street office said in April his decision not to attend was not aimed at sending a message of protest to the Chinese government.
Brown had come under intense pressure from human rights campaigners to miss the opening. Downing Street said the decision to skip the event had been made weeks before the announcement and was not a stand on principle.


Updated : 2021-04-13 10:45 GMT+08:00