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Using Olympics to oppose China is unfair: Samaranch
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It is unfair to penalize China through the Olympics, says Honorary President of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch, during a recent exclusive interview with La Vanguardia, the leading newspaper in Spain.

A report on April 13 in the Spanish newspaper carried Samaranch's denunciation of the attempts to disrupt the Olympic torch relay and boycott the Beijing Olympics.

China, with one quarter of the world population, has achieved amazing development. The world has seen China's great achievements in all kinds of sports events. The nation with its population of 1.3 billion absolutely has the right to host the Olympics, says Samaranch.

If they feel discontent over China, they should go to corresponding organizations, such as the United Nations, or reach their goal through economic and trade means, adds Samaranch.

In his opinion, it is absolutely unreasonable to penalize China, the country he has known for many years. China has kept double digit growth rates for many years and has experienced fundamental changes, from being a country that suffered from starvation and disasters to a prosperous nation. The important thing is the Chinese people are leading good lives.

Samaranch stated that he respects China very much. He said when other socialist countries boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics, China's participation greatly supported him.

Samaranch also strongly condemned the attempts to disrupt the Olympic torch relay. He points out that the violent disruptions took place in London and Paris were unpleasant and unacceptable. The occurrence of disruptions was not accidental but intentional. He hopes that the worst time has passed.

Samaranch believes it's fruitless to exert pressure on China. He said one must know when to stop while you are negotiating with Chinese people. They are so sensitive and they don't need anyone to teach them lessons on international politics, he added.

Samaranch hopes that the Olympic torch relay will be a great success and that when the Olympics starts, people will forget all the unpleasant incidents, he noted.

Samaranch is strongly against any attempts to boycott the Olympics. In his opinion, there should be no "boycott" in the dictionary of the Olympics. Not only is it useless, it will only end up punishing the athletes from the boycotting countries. Boycott of the opening ceremony for the Olympics by politicians is meaningless and of limited importance, he said. If they won't participate, the world will become quieter. What's most important for the Olympics is the participation of over 10,000 athletes from different countries and areas.

(CRI English April 19, 2008)

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