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France's President Highlights Chinese Rights Abuses, on Eve of Olympic Games


France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has sent Beijing a list of Chinese dissidents whose plight he wishes to highlight, on the eve of opening ceremonies for the Olympics.

The French foreign ministry Thursday Mr. Sarkozy had sent Chinese authorities a list of political prisoners and human rights defenders.

Mr. Sarkozy plans to attend Friday's opening ceremonies in Beijing, in spite of an earlier threat to boycott the games.

France's relationship with China has been watched closely, in part because of a perception that France supports Tibetan independence.

Mr. Sarkozy said this week that he will not meet with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader when the Dalai Lama visits Paris in mid-August. A French statement suggested it was the Dalai Lama's decision to forgo the meeting. But a spokesman for the president's ruling UMP party said Thursday that the Dalai Lama will most likely visit the presidential palace before the end of the year.

Mr. Sarkozy's wife, Carla Bruni, will participate as the Dalai Lama presides over the dedication of a Buddhist temple in southern France August 22nd.

The list of dissidents was compiled by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a European Union deputy and strong advocate for Tibetan independence. France currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

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