Cuba Condemns Criticism of China

HAVANA (AP) -- Cuba on Saturday rejected criticism of China for its crackdown on recent riots in Tibet, which has led to calls for a possible boycott of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.

In an e-mail statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, Havana also accused U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia of being the principal voice behind talk of a boycott.

"The government of Cuba condemns with all of its energy attempts to organize a crusade aimed at undermining this noble undertaking," the government said.

Protests against Chinese rule in Tibet have drawn a harsh response from Beijing, and Chinese authorities say 16 people have died and 325 were injured. The Dalai Lama's exiled government says 99 Tibetans have been killed.

Havana - one of five current communist governments including Beijing - also is quick to reject international complaints about its own human rights record.

The government added that it believes the Tibet riots were "promoted from outside the country," and expressed opposition to "any attempt to meddle in the internal affairs of China."

President Bush has long planned to attend the Beijing Olympics, and the White House said this week that the crackdown in Tibet is not cause for him to cancel.

The European Union also spoke out against a boycott, saying it would be counterproductive to efforts to improve human rights in China.


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