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Thousands rally in Europe, US
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10:08, April 21, 2008

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· Riots in Lhasa
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Chinese overseas staged a series of peaceful demonstrations in major Western cities over the weekend to protest against biased media coverage of the recent riots in Tibet and show their support for the Beijing Olympics.

The cities which witnessed the protests include London, Birmingham and Manchester, Paris, Vienna and Berlin as well as Washington and Los Angeles.

Thousands of Chinese, most of them wearing mouthmuzzles, staged a silent demonstration outside the House of Parliament in London while about 1,000 wearing "I love China" T-shirts, gathered outside BBC Manchester.

The demonstrators, mostly mobilized via the Internet, carried banners like "BBC unfair," "Stop media distortion and "Respect history, truth and China".

They said BBC had "misled the British public and the rest of the world by providing untruthful reports and biased coverage".

"Today we are here to oppose media distortion and media fabrication of the recent events. We are here on a quest for objectivity, fairness and justice," a demonstration coordinator read out from a statement at the beginning of the four-hour-long action in London.

"We are afraid that media distortion and media fabrication are going to build barriers between, and generate hatred among, the Western world and the Chinese people. This attempt reminds us of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain.

"At the time of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, we warmly welcome people from all over the world to our country to see, to hear, to touch the real China and to talk to real Chinese people."

On the March 14 riots in Lhasa, BBC released a picture on its website showing Chinese armed police officers helping medical staff move an injured person on to an ambulance.

The caption, however, said: "There is a heavy military presence in Lhasa," ignoring clear First Aid and Red Cross signs on the ambulance.

Apart from holding anti-BBC banners and wearing T-shirts painted with patriotic symbols, demonstrators also sang the Chinese national anthem before protest ended at 3 pm local time.

In Manchester, demonstrators read an open letter addressed to BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, accusing the organization of biased reporting.

It challenged the network's distorted coverage of the Olympic torch relay in London, saying it "severely violated the principle of the media: Being objective and fair".

Ge Nan, who participated in the demonstration in London, told China Daily that he thought the demonstration would help the British public see the other side of the story.

"The BBC coverage exaggerated one side of the story intentionally by soliciting views solely from Tibetan secessionists and their Western supporters," Ge said.

"All we want is more people to listen to our voice and all Chinese people's voices because they interviewed only Tibetan separatists when the torch went through London."

In Berlin, thousands of Chinese expatriates and students from all across Germany participated in a march which began at Berlin's famed downtown Friedrichstrasse railway station to the Potsdamer Platz, a landmark square.

Protesters held banners such as "Tibet was, is and will be a part of China" and "Boycotting Olympics = New Berlin Wall," and sang patriotic songs.

In Washington DC, more than 300 gathered near the US Capitol for a peaceful demonstration in the Upper Senate Park, which lies across the street from the US Capitol Building.

"American media, you can muzzle our voices, but cannot smother the truth!" read one banner.

"How can you say the Dalai clique's violent attempts to sabotage the Beijing Olympics are 'peaceful actions'? We must tell people the truth and stop media distortion," said Ma Xiping, one of the organizers of the event

Wu Xiaohui, a local community leader, told Xinhua that some US politicians' attitude toward the Lhasa riots clearly demonstrates their "double standards" in foreign policy as well as their arrogance and disrespect for other people in the world.

In Asia, hundreds of Chinese students in Japan signed their names on three flags to express their support for the Beijing Olympic Games.

The campaign, initiated by the Chinese Students in Japan Friendship Association, plans to collect more than 10,000 signatures from Chinese students and scholars in Japan.

During the Olympic torch relay in Japan's Nagano city on Saturday, the flags will be presented to spectators for their signatures.

Source: China Daily/Xinhua

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