April 14, 2008
Dutch Government believes that the discussion about human rights in China is focusing too much on the upcoming Olympic Games.
Below is an article published by: Radio Netherlands Worldwide:
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende says he believes that the discussion about human rights in China is focusing too much on the upcoming Olympic Games. Mr Balkenende said that all kinds of contacts, whether they be trade missions or summits, can contribute to improving human rights. He also pointed out that nobody is calling for an economic boycott of China, or to a halt to tourist trips to the country.
Yesterday [10 April 2008], the European parliament called on government leaders to boycott the opening ceremony of the games in Beijing because of the situation in Tibet. Mr Balkenende says he still intends to attend the ceremony, despite the fact that a recent poll by a Dutch television programme revealed that two thirds of the population believe he should stay at home.
In the Dutch parliament, more and more MPs are supporting a boycott. Many of them believe that government representatives visiting China should voice their disapproval of human rights violations in the country. They also believe that such disapproval should be expressed both before and after the Olympic Games. Currently, four trade missions from local Dutch governments are scheduled to visit China in the run up to the games, while another five will go after the games finish.