French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, and U.S. presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain, second from right, gesture after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, March 21, 2008. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
By ELAINE GANLEY
PARIS - Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain said Friday that China is harming its world image with its crackdown in Tibet and expressed hope Beijing would seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.
McCain did not discuss the issue during a 45-minute meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but told reporters later the subject was "one of the first things I would talk about if I were president of the United States today."
China's crackdown "is not correct," McCain said in the courtyard of the French presidential Elysee Palace.
"The people there are being subjected to mistreatment that is not acceptable with the conduct of a world power, which China is," McCain said in response to a question by a Chinese television journalist.
"There must be respect for human rights, and I would hope that the Chinese are actively seeking a peaceful resolution to this situation that exists which harms not only the human rights of the people there but also the image of China in the world."
The White House has urged Beijing to respect Tibetan culture and multi-ethnicity in its society.
McCain was in Paris for a matter of hours at the end of a weeklong tour of the Middle East and Europe. He was traveling as part of a U.S. congressional delegation including Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. that visited Iraq, Jordan, Israel and London...