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China slams U.S. Olympics resolution

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China's human rights record weighs on its bid to host the 2008 Olympics  

BEIJING, China -- China has again reacted angrily to a U.S. resolution opposing Beijing's bid to host the Games in 2008.

The Chinese Olympic Committee on Friday voiced "strong indignation" at a motion passed by a U.S. congressional committee opposing the Games because of its record on human rights.

"This kind of base act not only violates the Olympic spirit, but crudely tramples on the purpose and principles of the Olympic movement," the official Xinhua news agency reported the committee as saying.

The committee's response comes in the wake of a Foreign Ministry spokesman saying on Thursday that Beijing would not bow to international pressure in releasing political prisoners to boost its Olympic bid.

The U.S. House International Relations Committee referred to China's human rights record, particularly the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement, in passing its resolution.

Committee members voted 27-8 in favor of a non-binding resolution calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to deny Beijing's Games bid.

The resolution would have no legal force, but its sponsors hope it will put pressure on the IOC and China.

Sensitive approach

But opponents have said the U.S. resolution is counterproductive, and say the best way to spur reform in the communist nation is to talk with Beijing.

The resolution will advance to the full House of Representatives. The Senate has yet to take up the measure.

Activists who oppose Beijing winning the Games bid say the Olympic spirit enshrines the dignity of the individual.

China, with thousands of political and religious prisoners and strict media censorship, is not a suitable Games host, they said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi told reporters that those held in Chinese jails were tried and convicted according to law.

Chinese officials have urged the IOC not to mix sport and politics when it votes in July to select the Olympics 2008 host among Beijing, Toronto, Paris, Osaka, or Istanbul.

U.S. lawmakers introduced a similar resolution in 1993 opposing China's 2000 Olympics bid. It passed in the House with bipartisan support.

The IOC selected Sydney over Beijing to host the 2000 Games.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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