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Carrefour supports Beijing Olympics: chairman
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The chairman of French supermarket chain Carrefour said Tuesday that calls for boycott of Beijing Olympics were acts with ulterior motives, and Carrefour would make its utmost efforts to support the Olympics.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Carrefour Chairman Jose Luis Duran also denied reports that his company supported Tibetan separatists.

Duran said China was given the honor of hosting the 2008 Olympics, which is an opportunity for China to present its achievements since the adoption of the opening-up policy.

The chairman said he himself has witnessed changes in China during past years. Such changes have also brought about joint development for Carrefour and its partners since it entered the Chinese market 13 years ago.

Therefore, Carrefour will go all out to support the Beijing Olympics and he will also attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics, Duran said.

Referring to calls for boycotting Carrefour in some cities across China, Duran expressed his understanding for the Chinese people's emotion, saying that "Obviously, recent sabotage incidents in Paris during the Olympic torch relay hurt feelings of the Chinese people, made them angry and triggered their protests."

"I hope that the preparations for the Olympics will be implemented with a harmonious atmosphere. The success of the Beijing Olympics will benefit all the people," he added.

Duran also expressed his condemnation over the violent activities during the April 7 torch relay in Paris by Tibetan separatists, who attacked handicapped Chinese girl Jin Jing and attempted to rob the torch from her for several times.

Meanwhile, Duran denied that Carrefour's Singapore branch provided funds for Dalai Lama, saying that "these allegations are groundless. Carrefour and its branches have given no direct or indirect support to any political or religious group."

"Whether in China or anywhere else, Carrefour has never done these and will never do these," he said.

In addition, when asked about an allegation on the Internet that Carrefour's branch in China's Wuhan City lowered a flag to half-mast to express sympathy for Tibetan separatists after the outbreak of the March 14 riots in Lhasa, Duran said he didn't know the story.

Duran said if it had happened, he would express his strongest condemnation. The chairman reiterated that as a business group, Carrefour's headquarters, branches and any store do not interfere in internal affairs of any foreign countries.

(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2008)

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