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Media Group Says Olympics Chief Advised Staff on China Rights Abuse


Reporters Without Borders says it has obtained an internal memo about Tibet circulated within the International Olympic Committee.

The Paris-based media rights watchdog group says the document circulated by IOC chief Jacques Rogge lays out a communication strategy for dealing with criticism of the Chinese government's crackdown on Tibet and Chinese human rights activists.

Reporters Without Borders says the IOC's public relations department wrote the memo on March 17th - several days after protests began in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. The 11-page memo reportedly gave staff a list of China's supposed human rights improvements to balance critics' claims.

The IOC has not confirmed the document's authenticity, but an official on a visit to Beijing this week rejected rights groups' claims that the Olympic Games have contributed to a worsening situation in China's human rights.

Human rights and pro-Tibet activists are preparing for the arrival of the Beijing Olympic torch in London, Paris and San Francisco.

No protests have been reported for Olympic torch relay stops in Kazakhstan, Turkey or Russia, where it arrived in St. Petersburg early Friday.

But the Free Tibet Campaign and other activist groups are calling for demonstrations along the torch's route in London, where it will stop outside British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's residence (at 10 Downing Street) Sunday. Human Rights Watch says Mr. Brown is sending the Chinese government the wrong message about its ongoing crackdown in Tibet.

Protests are also planned at the torch's stops in Paris Monday and San Francisco Wednesday - the only North American stop on the tour.

Tibetan exile activists say they plan to disrupt the torch relay when it reaches India later this month. The Tibetan government in exile says it supports Beijing hosting the Olympics, but it opposes the inclusion of Tibet in the torch relay's route.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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