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His Holiness the Dalai Lama leaves for Gaggal airport, June 11, 2017. The Tibetan leader is scheduled to give a public talk on "Embracing the Beauty of Diversity in our World" at the University of California San Diego on June 16, 2017. Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
His Holiness the Dalai Lama bestows the chenrezig empowerment, Theckchen Choeling, McLeod Ganj, May 27, 2017 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives back in McLeod Ganj, after attending events in New Delhi, April 28, 2017 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
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Sarkozy to attend Olympics opening ceremony: report
AFP[Friday, July 04, 2008 18:05]
PARIS - FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy is to attend the August 8 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, which he threatened to boycott over China's recent crackdown in Tibet, Le Monde newspaper reported on Friday.

The French newspaper of reference reported in its Saturday issue that Mr Sarkozy would announce his participation to Chinese President Hu Jintao during next week's Group of Eight summit in Japan.

'Nicolas Sarkozy will travel to Beijing to attend the August 8 opening ceremony of the Olympic Games,' wrote the paper, quoting sources in the French presidency.

The sources said Mr Sarkozy would make the announcement next week, 'barring a disaster'.

Asked to comment on the report, the presidency repeated on Friday that Mr Sarkozy would announce his decision during the G8 summit.

Mr Sarkozy said on Monday that he would say next week whether he planned to attend the ceremony and that the decision hinged on progress in talks between China and the Dalai Lama.

China and the Dalai Lama's representatives held an informal round of talks on May 4 after deadly anti-China riots broke out on March 14 in the Tibetan capital Lhasa. Another round of talks is now under way in Beijing.

The resulting Chinese crackdown triggered international criticism of Beijing's policies in Tibet, as well as protests in Paris and other Western cities that disrupted April's international Olympic torch relay.

The protests and Mr Sarkozy's stance have made France a particular target of an anti-Western backlash in China, with hundreds of people staging protests in May at Chinese outlets of French retail giant Carrefour.

According to an online survey published this week, nearly 90 per cent of Chinese are against Mr Sarkozy's participation, saying they viewed his stance toward China as 'extremely unfriendly'.
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