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ASIAN CANADIAN

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pro-Beijing demonstrators carry message to Parliament Hill

THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA - Chinese-Canadians who support the Beijing government turned out on Parliament Hill on Sunday to complain that western critics have a distorted view of the current political turmoil in Tibet.

Police estimated there were about 3,000 demonstrators, many of whom were bused in from Toronto and Montreal. They waved Chinese flags, sang the Chinese national anthem, and applauded a succession of speakers who denounced "biased" media coverage of events in Tibet.

Several of those who took the microphone, representing a range of Chinese community groups, pointed to reports of Tibetans attacking Chinese shopkeepers in recent weeks.

"Killing people is not human rights," shouted one speaker, drawing chants of "Shame, shame" from the crowd.

Leaflets distributed to journalists called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to condemn the "Tibetan separatists" whom they accuse of fomenting violence.

The leaflets also urged the Conservative government to show "common sense" and avoid mixing sport and politics in the run-up to this summer's Beijing Olympics.

Harper has said he won't attend the opening ceremonies of the Games. But he's also said he made that decision before the furor over human rights violations in Tibet, and there are no plans for a Canadian boycott of the Olympics.

Demonstrations by Tibetans opposed to Chinese rule of their homeland, and counter-demonstrations by pro-Beijing Chinese, have proliferated around the world over the last month.

The protesters Sunday unfurled banners and waved placards with slogans proclaiming "No to riots, no to separatism," "One China, one family," and "Tibet will always be part of China."

© The Canadian Press, 2008

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