FRENCH Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal has emerged as the first major international political figure to raise the prospect of a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games, citing China's stance on the Darfur turmoil in Sudan.
News.Com Au By Rowan Callick in Beijing:April 27, 2007 01:00am - Excerpt:
She told French TV yesterday that "all means must be used" to halt "this abominable genocide" in the Darfur region of Sudan, a country from which China obtains 12 per cent of its oil imports - 2.6 million tonnes of crude in the first quarter of 2007.
Ms Royal responded to a question about France boycotting the August 2008 Olympics saying: "I don't exclude it."
When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Sudan in February during an eight-nation African tour, he urged Mr Omar to accept a UN contingent - but at the same time forgave the Sudan regime $96 million in debt and handed over a further $16 million for projects including a grand new presidential palace.
For France to lead such a boycott would be especially painful for Beijing, for it has long been China's chief Western friend.
It emerged after chief censor Long Xinmin was replaced on Wednesday that France's ambassador in Beijing, Herve Ladsous, had on April 3 conferred on him the country's top award, the Legion d'Honneur. (more)