BEIJING China warned foreign groups on
Wednesday not to use the Summer Olympics to pressure Beijing,
presenting the nation as a "responsible" but poor power eager
to end rows over trade, pollution and human rights.
China has been buffeted ahead of the Games by worries over
dirty air and international protests over human rights, Tibet,
Sudan's Darfur and other controversies that often irk Chinese
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told critics to back off,
accusing them of violating the Olympic Games charter keeping
politics away from sports.
"I don't believe that the international community wants to
politicize the Beijing Olympics. That's a handful of
individuals and forces extremely unfriendly to China and
bearing massive prejudices," Yang told reporters.
China welcomed "well-intentioned" criticism of the Games,
he said. "But those who want to tarnish China -- and hear me, I
said China -- won't succeed."
The scholarly-looking diplomat made the comments in a news
conference coinciding with the annual national parliament, and
carefully answered questions on the United States, Japan and
European Union, arguing that China wanted cooperation, not
But his comments also came after a slew of news that
underscored the headaches China faces in holding the huge,
live-to-air sporting spectacle that starts on August 8.
In February, Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg
quit as an artistic adviser to the Games, claiming that China
had failed to use enough sway in Sudan to seek an end to
bloodshed in Darfur.
This week has seen protest marches against the Games by
Tibetan refugees. Ethiopia's marathon world record holder Haile
Gebrselassie announced he will not race in Beijing because of
health fears from pollution.
And Chinese officials announced a domestic flight from the
restive western region of Xinjiang was grounded over fears of a
terrorist attack, stirring concern about security around the
But Yang said the Chinese capital would be safe and clean
for visitors and the event would seal, not sour, friendly ties.
"The international community and governments, leaders and
the publics of countries across the world warmly support a
successful Olympics, showing their deep friendly feeling for
the Chinese people," Yang said.
"China of course is one of the safest places in the
world,"" he added.
Beijing's Games have been presented as a chance for China
to brandish its growing prosperity and pride, with the
government pouring billions into new subway lines and shining
But in response to questions about Africa and climate
change policy, Yang also said China was still a poor country,
too focused on its own development to bear too much of an
international burden, especially in cutting greenhouse gas
"China is a responsible member of the international
community," Yang said. "At the same time, as a developing
country, frankly, China cannot assume international
responsibilities beyond its own capacity to bear."
China is set to surpass the United States as the world's
top emitter of carbon dioxide, but says it will not accept
fixed caps on emissions and the burden in fighting climate
change should fall on rich countries, who create much more
pollution per head.
"It's like there is one person who eats three slices of
bread for breakfast, and there are three of them who eat only
one slice. Who should be on a diet?," Yang said.
He also said "transfer emissions" -- the environmental
costs of products produced in one country and then exported to
-- should be considered in emissions calculations.
Asked about U.S. criticisms of China's strict leash on
citizens' political activities, Yang accompanied a call for
more friendly dialogue with a prickly warning.
"We resolutely oppose clinging to a Cold War mentality and
drawing an ideological line to engage in confrontation and
double standards," he said.
(Editing by Nick Macfie and Sanjeev Miglani)