Sarkozy threatens boycott amid fresh riots in Tibet
Pressure mounted on China on Saturday to open talks with the Dalai Lama with French President Nicholas Sarkozy becoming the first western leader to bluntly threaten it with a boycott of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony amid another bloody flare up in Tibet.
At least eight people have been killed in fresh riots in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Garze in southwest China's Sichuan province, rights groups claimed but state media said police had fired "warning shots" after they were attacked by mobs and one government official was seriously injured.
Sarkozy will only attend the opening ceremony if China opens dialogue with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and frees political prisoners, French Secretary of State for Human Rights Rama Yade was quoted as saying by the Le Monde newspaper.
The US, EU and Australia have been piling pressure on China to immediately open dialogue with the Dalai Lama and though Tibetans have been pressing for a boycott of the Olympics, no world leader had till now openly suggested such a move.
A defiant Beijing has warned countries against interfering in its internal affairs and accused the Dalai Lama of sabotaging the Beijing Olmpics slated to begin on August 8, a charge denied by the monk.
Unable to quell the violent protests by Tibetans despite a massive security clampdown, China has vowed to "reinforce patriotic education" in the restive region which Tibetan groups say only implied denouncing the Dalai Lama.