But what do the Tibetans themselves think of this action? I went to the Office of Tibet and asked the representative of the Dalai Lama in France, mr. Wanku Beshi:
“NGO’s, they are free to do what they like. When these people are staging manifestations during the opening of the Olympic torch in Greece, they are not doing this out of happiness. It is not a kind of holiday. They are doing this because they are very much feeling about the absence of justice, absence of international communities’ listening to the peaceful people.”
“We are not in favor of the boycott, but we really need an international support not only from the public opion, the citizens or the NGO’s but from the governments to put pressure on the Chinese government to get real improvements before the games. “
Initially, the French government was not very committed to speak out:
Wanku Beshi: “The French reaction in the beginning has been very confused. Because the European countries, especially countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, and Germany has been very, even Poland has been very courageous, because they stated very clearly that China must listen to the Dalai Lama’s peace approach, which is there for many years now. So in the beginning, the French position has been very invisible. We can not see it, we don’t understand actually why the French side has acted in such a poor manner. But gradually I think they understood the position of other countries, but also the situation, the grave situation going on in Tibet, the violence of the Chinese forces and authorities, but also the manifestations by the French public.”
Some important guests already have said they won’t attend, one of them being the Prince of Wales. Director Stephen Spielberg, too, has announced he won’t be available to orchestrate the opening ceremony, to the dismay of the Beijing Olympic Committee, which calls all this actions, meddling, and interference. The question remains if all the actions, boycotts, partial boycotts or other activities disrupting the Games, won’t backfire so that in the end, the Tibetan people pay the price. For Network Europe, this is Jan van der Made, reporting from Paris.Listen to the report:
The Olympic torch has begun its long journey from its spiritual home in Southern Greece to Beijing for this summer's Olympic games. Tibetan activists have however threatened to harry and harrass the torch as it's carried around the world. This week they disrupted the ceremony to light the flame at Ancient Olympia causing huge embarrassment both to Greece and China.
More and more European leaders have sharpened their tone over Tibet this week. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders, said he would not rule out a boycott if the situation in Tibet worsens. And French President Nicolas Sarkozy did the same. Meanwhile the head of the European Parliament invited the Dalai Lama to address EU lawmakers on the situation in Tibet. And, he also raised the option of boycotting the opening ceremony. But what would a boycott achieve? Marco Cappato is an Italian liberal democrat member of the European Parliament.
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