Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-03-26-Speech-3-082"

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"Mr President, the brutal action taken by the Chinese military against Tibetan demonstrators has resulted in more than 1 000 people being injured and, it is thought, some 100 deaths among the Tibetans. Shocking images have come to light despite the news blackouts and the expulsion of journalists. It is quite obvious that China is miles away from any kind of suitability as an Olympic host. The fact is that one of the criteria for the choice of Beijing as the venue for the Games – respect for human and minority rights – has not been fulfilled. Yet again, however, IOC President Jacques Rogge has omitted to voice any criticism of this situation. At the lighting of the Olympic flame in Athens – just like a year ago in his speech at Tiananmen Square – Mr Rogge has once again failed to make any reference whatsoever to the current situation. Of course the athletes have been preparing for the Games, and their efforts should not be for nothing. President Pöttering was quite right to describe a boycott as the last resort if the Chinese fail to effect major changes by August. As President of the European Parliament's Tibet Intergroup, I fully endorse this position. I would like to express my gratitude for the solidarity that we are seeing very clearly today. I hope, too, that our athletes, who are responsible adults, will not shy away from speaking out at any time and will utilise the presence of some 20 000 journalists. Of course the Olympic Games offer political options. Perhaps all the athletes could wear a black ribbon as a sign of mourning. The Chinese have miscalculated: we Europeans will not look away. The European Parliament, as the champion of human rights, spoke out immediately. The Slovenian Presidency voiced its protest yesterday, in fact, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, I would like to see the European Commission convene a special session within the framework of the EU-China dialogue. EU observers must be sent to Tibet without delay in order to obtain an objective impression of the situation there. In China, there are not only hardliners and not only nationalists. I place my hopes in the reasonable people who are well aware that there is no moving forward without the cultural and religious identity of the Tibetans. There is no alternative to the Dalai Lama's peaceful path. Only then can an Olympic spirit develop at all."@en1

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