China Angered by U.S. Lobbying on Rights
"These Communists Expect Special Treatment And Special Understanding After all They Are The Middle Kingdom Between Heaven And Earth !"
BEIJING — In response to President Bush’s meeting with prominent Chinese dissidents at the White House, Beijing on Thursday sharply condemned Washington for interfering in China’s domestic affairs and accused American legislators of politicizing the Olympics.
Shortly after Mr. Bush held talks Tuesday with the five dissidents — Harry Wu, Wei Jingsheng, Rebiya Kadeer, Sasha Gong and Bob Fu — the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution urging China to honor its pledge to improve human rights before the Games, which begin Aug. 8. The resolution passed 419 to 1.
During a news conference Thursday, Liu Jianchao, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, described the House measure as “odious conduct” and said the United States should stop “making use of so-called religious and human rights” issues to score political points, Agence France-Presse reported.
The Chinese authorities also remained resolute about their decision to maintain a firewall on the Internet and limit access for journalists covering the Olympics. Senior officials with the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, have said they were stunned to learn Wednesday that Beijing’s longstanding pledge to provide foreign reporters with unfettered access would not be honored.
Kevan Gosper, a former Olympic athlete from Australia and the chief of the IOC press commission in Beijing, said he had been assured that visiting journalists would have no limitations on their Internet use during the Games. But he said Wednesday that other IOC officials, whom he did not identify, had agreed to let some Web sites be blocked. Olympic organizers say they are trying to convince the government to reconsider its decision to limit access.
In an interview Thursday, Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, said reporters arriving in China in the coming week should not expect access to sites that discuss topics such as Tibet, Taiwanese independence or the Falun Gong, a banned religious group that China has deemed an “evil cult.” Such sites, he said, “contain information that is in breach of Chinese law.”