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French AEC Chairman: Do not close the door to China
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15:45, April 18, 2008

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Mr. André Chieng, chairman of France's AEC, recently sent a letter to the French edition of People's Daily Online in which he said that the West should not close the door to China.

In his letter, André Chieng wrote: The recent incidents in Tibet reflect the existing problems of communication between China and other countries. As a French citizen of Chinese origin, born in France and settled in China, as well as a man engaged in the promotion of Sino-French exchanges and the establishment of a cultural bridge between the peoples of the two countries, I am deeply disturbed by the conflicts that involved both sides, and have experienced unprecedented estrangement.

Chieng believes that many Western groups, with no understanding and knowledge about what's happening in China, think human rights are not by convention respected in China. Some of them also lack the knowledge or have a misunderstanding about the inclusion of religious feelings and the culture of external and non-Han minorities. In the letter, he wrote: Therefore, we overlook an important fact: China's great initiative to begin the 30-year opening to the outside world. Usually we only see the superficial phenomena, such as the modernized economy and internationalized atmosphere in the country brought by McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and pop music. However, we have ignored the extensive influence of the country's opening up. Nowadays, Tibet-themed shops can be easily found in Beijing and many cities across the country. In Lhasa, even before the completion of the famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the Potala Palace was receiving large numbers of visitors daily; and required person-time control so as to ensure security of the heritage. This has been the work of the Chinese, not of foreigners.

He wrote: We have often said that the Chinese government has invested in the construction of roads and railways for Tibet's development. But we ignore the fact that the Chinese Government has also invested hundreds of millions in funds for the restoration of temples in Tibet. The movie “Hoh Xil,” named after a place and centered around the stories of people of both Tibetan and Han nationalities protecting Tibetan Antelopes and fighting against poachers, is more than just a movie. Tibetan ecological maps and pictures of guardians fighting with their lives have been disseminated across the country. The movie has also touched the heart of people of other nationalities.

Turning to the Olympics, the AEC chairman wrote: What do the Olympic Games mean for China? We usually say that the government will take this opportunity to rebuild its image as a great power. But for the Chinese people, it is a chance to tell others what's happening in China; to learn the language and customs of other countries; and to proudly welcome guests from all over the world. Would it be right to even just boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games? If we were Chinese, how would we treat the people who participate the games but refuse to show up to the celebratory ceremonies? It would be like visiting someone's home as a guest but refusing to say hello to the host.

By People's Daily Online

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