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World unites to condemn China

Taiwan leads sweeping condemnation of China’s brutal crackdown on protesters in Tibet and accuses Beijing of trying to gloss over its rights record with Olympic sheen.

world Updated: Mar 15, 2008 23:42 IST

Taiwan led sweeping condemnation on Saturday of China’s brutal crackdown on protesters in Tibet and accused Beijing of trying to gloss over its rights record with Olympic sheen.

About 30 people have been killed during unrest in Lhasa, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile in India, although China’s state-run Xinhua news agency earlier put the figure at 10, citing government officials.

The arm-flexing has caused newspapers around the world to start talking about a possible boycott of the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing.

“This incident fully reflects the Chinese government’s characteristics: dictatorship and bullying. Such a government won’t tolerate the Tibetan people in their pursuit of speech of freedom,” pro-independence President Chen Shui-bian told a crowd in southern Chiayi city.

US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama called on Beijing to account for the status of Buddhist monks detained.

He said this year’s Olympics in Beijing were an opportunity for China to demonstrate its progress on human rights. “But the events in Tibet these last few days unfortunately show a different face of China,” said Obama.

Germany meanwhile backed the Tibetans’ rights to religious and cultural autonomy, while “supporting the policy of a single China.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in his blog: “The fact that Tibet is a part of China does not relieve Chinese authorities of their duties (...) Quite the contrary. It is their responsibility to ensure that Tibetan rights are fully respected.”