A week before US President George Bush arrives in Beijing for the Olympics, an angry China has demanded that the US stop ‘rudely interfering’ in its internal affairs.
Bush met five exiled Chinese dissidents at the White House residence on Tuesday, assuring them he would carry the ‘message of freedom’ to Beijing. And on Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution calling upon China to end human rights abuses and stop supporting the regimes in Sudan.
In a scathing reaction, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao called the resolution a ‘malicious intention to politicise the Games,’ and a ‘blasphemy to the Olympic spirit’. Bush’s meeting with dissidents, Liu said, sent a ‘seriously wrong’ message to anti-China forces.
“By arranging such a meeting between its leader and these people and making irresponsible remarks on China’s human rights and religious situation, the US side has rudely interfered in China’s internal affairs and sent a seriously wrong message to the anti-China hostile forces,’’ Liu said, warning that such actions by the US would damage bilateral relations.
Despite pressure from US lawmakers and rights groups to boycott the Games over China’s record of curbing dissent and religious freedom, Bush has said he will attend the opening ceremony in the spirit of sports and to avoid an ‘affront’ to the Chinese.
As China countsdown to the August 8 opening ceremony of the Games to showcase its transformation into a global power, it is in no mood for criticism. This week, Amnesty International released a report claiming that the Chinese government has broken promises to improve its human rights record ahead of the Games. Beijing, which is currently battling criticism over its crackdown on activists, Internet censorship and allegations that city hotels will spy on Internet usage of guests, rejected the report as unfair.