Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-03-26-Speech-3-087"

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"Mr President, the Olympic flame may have been lit last weekend, but the Olympic spirit died in the streets of Tibet. It was killed by the most repressive regime on earth. China sponsors genocide in Darfur, genocide against religious groups in China, and now genocide in Tibet. For politicians of principle it is no longer a question of whether there should be a boycott of the Olympics, but what sort of boycott. After my last visit to China in May 2006, all whom I had contact with – ex-prisoners, reformists and so-on – were arrested, imprisoned and, in some cases, tortured. I am thinking of Gao Zhisheng, of Hu Jia, of Sao Dong and others. This is the real China. That is why I called then for a debate in the EU about a boycott of the Olympics. This debate shows that the free world, as colleagues have made clear, cannot and should not shake hands with murderers. It is not just, as the President of this House has courageously said, a question of not attending the opening Olympic ceremony. There are wider questions to be answered about the nature of the Olympics themselves. The Olympic Charter, in Article 1, talks about universal, fundamental, ethical principles. The Chinese, in 2001 when they accepted the Olympic Games in 2008, made commitments to reform. Nothing has been done. This Parliament asked, in a resolution in December – unanimously – that the IOC should make an assessment of China’s progress to reform. Nothing has been done. The IOC must speak up. Parliament has begun a debate which will echo around the world, and I thank the President for initiating it."@en1

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