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Carrefour's statement against Tibet independence welcomed: MOC
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China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Tuesday welcomed French retail giant Carrefour's statement that opposes Tibet independence and supports Beijing Olympics.

China noted the French government and companies had taken positive action to improve and safeguard bilateral relations, and firms including Carrefour have issued statements to oppose Tibet independence and support the Beijing Olympics, a MOC official said.

"We welcomed these actions," the official said in a statement.

"We hope foreign-funded companies, including Carrefour, can do their utmost to provide quality services for Chinese consumers," the official said.

Carrefour, which entered China's market in 1995, employed more than 40,000 local workers, accounting for 99 percent of all its staff at its Chinese outlets, the official said.

The retail giant has 112 stores on the Chinese mainland.

It also has annual sales of nearly 30 billion yuan in China, 95 percent of the sales coming from made-in-China products, the official added.

Carrefour has been accused by Chinese Internet users of supporting the Dalai Lama group, which Carrefour China denied in a statement on Wednesday.

In response also to protests in Paris and elsewhere in Europe against the Olympic torch relay, Chinese protesters took to the streets of several cities last weekend, calling for a boycott of Carrefour.

Chinese protestors chanted slogans, including "Oppose Tibet independence" and "Oppose CNN's anti-China statements", expressing indignation over western media's biased reports over Chinese government's handling of the unrest in Tibet last month.

Many newspapers and Internet portals, including the "anti-cnn" website and the People's Daily, have published statements calling for rational expressions of patriotism.

French Senate President Christian Poncelet conveyed on Monday in Shanghai President Nicolas Sarkozy's sympathy note to Jin Jing, a wheelchair-bound fencer who struggled with a protestor over possession of the Olympic torch during the relay in Paris.

"I understand that the Chinese people's feelings were hurt by what went on that day, and especially by the intolerable attack you suffered and which I condemn with the utmost force," Poncelet read from President Sarkozy's letter.

"What happened in Paris on April 7 has engendered a feeling of bitterness in your country. I want to assure you that the incidents that were brought about by a few people on this sad day don't reflect the feelings of my fellow countrymen for the Chinese people," the letter says.

(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2008)

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