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China condemns disruption of Olympic torch relay

Chinaon strongly condemns disruption of the Olympic Torch Relay in Paris and London by pro-Tibetan protesters.
PTI | By Raghvendra, Beijing
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2008 01:31 PM IST

China on Tuesday strongly condemned disruption of the Olympic Torch Relay in Paris and London by pro-Tibetan protesters calling it "despicable activities", even as it asserted that it would not bow to "outside pressure" to make concessions on the Tibet issue.

"We express strong condemnation of the deliberate disruption of the Olympic Torch Relay by 'Tibetan independence' separatist forces regardless of the Olympic spirit and the law of Britain and France," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

China's response came as the Beijing Olympics flame was extinguished four times in Paris yesterday during anti-China protests by Tibetan activists who tried to disrupt the relay run, forcing officials to bring it on board a bus. A day before, attempts were made to disrupt it in London also.

"Their despicable activities tarnish the lofty Olympic spirit and challenge all the people loving the Olympic Games around the world," Jiang said.

China was convinced that nobody could impede the Olympic spirit and the concept of "peace, friendship and progress" represented by the Olympic torch, official Xinhua news agency quoted her as saying.

In a separate reaction, Jiang said foreign media reports that the Olympic torch was forced to be extinguished during the relay in Paris were false, adding, the modes of the relay were temporarily changed to safeguard the security and dignity of the Olympic torch "under the circumstances" there.

The torch relay in Paris was safely completed as scheduled, she said.

The state media made brief mention about attempts to disrupt the torch relay in London and Paris and said it received a warm welcome.

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