Minister rejects Olympic boycott calls

A boycott of the Olympic Games in China would serve no purpose and the event should instead be used as a lever to improve the situation in the country, foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen told NOS tv on Thursday.

Speaking after a public meeting on the issue, Verhagen said he has urged China to use the games to improve its image on human rights and not just to build new sports stadiums.
The Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands, Xue Hanqin, said in an opinion article in today’s Volkskrant that the discussion taking place in the Netherlands about human rights in China is upsetting the Chinese people.
It is unacceptable that the image of China in the western world is damaged by ‘unsubstantiated statements’ in the run up to the Olympic Games, she said. She added that the Dutch arm of Amnesty International recognises the efforts China is making and the improvements that have been made.
Amnesty confirmed it has talked to the Chinese ambassador but told the Volkskrant: ‘China has made improvements on the socio-economic level… but if it is being suggested that there are improvements in the area of traditional human rights than that’s just not the case.’
The cover story of today’s is also about human rights in China and claims that the country’s dissidents are still put into work camps or even executed.

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