IOC Alerts Police Over China Threats (AP)
By STEPHEN WILSON, AP Sports Writer
LONDON Wednesday June 13 (AP) - A letter from a radical Tibetan group threatening IOC members who vote for Beijing as the host city of the 2008 Olympics has been turned over to Swiss police.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, which threatens ``serious bodily reprisals'' against IOC members who support China's candidacy.
``We swear that we'll find at any cost the felons who will vote for the China candidature,'' said the one-page typed letter, signed by a self-described radical faction of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
The document was faxed to IOC members around the world and to IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
IOC director general Francois Carrard said the committee was taking the threats seriously.
``I consider it a security matter and have passed it on to proper Swiss authorities,'' he said Wednesday. ``It is impossible at this stage for me to assess the exact nature of the threat.
``But I certainly consider any security threat, and this is a specific one, serious enough to be passed on to the authorities. People who claim to be criminals, you never underestimate them.''
IOC members have been flooded in recent weeks by e-mails and faxes from groups and individuals opposed to the Beijing bid on grounds that China violates human rights in Tibet.
But this latest letter, received in the past few days, was the first to threaten violence.
The letter was sent by ``a faction of'' the Tibetan Youth Congress, an India-based group which is active in protesting against Chinese policies in Tibet. China occupied Tibet in 1950.
``We, some radical members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, now affirm that the candidature of Beijing has gone excessively too far,'' the letter said.
Beijing is considered the front-runner in the five-city race for the 2008 Olympics. Toronto and Paris are the main challengers, with Osaka, Japan, and Istanbul, Turkey, as outsiders. The IOC will select the host city on July 13.
The Tibetan group's statement promised to ``show strongly our determination and our means'' before the July vote and suggested this could be in the form of a violent act.
``Police and media will be warned just before,'' it said.
The statement is written in English, with a number of mistakes in grammar, syntax and spelling. It uses the French acronym (CIO) for the IOC.
In bold letters, the fax states: ``This is a true and serious bodily reprisals' menace against the members of the CIO who intend to vote and who will vote for the candidature of China; against the headquarters of the CIO; against the good march of the Olympic Games Year 2008 if they occur in China.''
``The menace begins now ... until year 2008,'' it says.
The statement said the human rights situation in Tibet and China would only get worse if Beijing is awarded the Olympics.
``We couldn't accept that, remember that, anyway, we don't have anything more to loose,'' it said. ``And please remember that we have already committed and still continue to commit crimes and other bomb attacks in Tibet, in China and elsewhere. This time we are determined to go further than never.''
The letter says members of the Tibetan group ``are really outraged of the positive political declaration'' on the Beijing bid in the IOC's evaluation report on the five bid cities.
The IOC report, issued in early April, described the bids from Beijing, Paris and Toronto as ``excellent.'' It said staging the Olympics in Beijing would ``leave a unique legacy to China and to sport.''
About 50 members of the Tibetan Youth Congress demonstrated peacefully outside IOC headquarters in April when the 2008 evaluation report was released.
The organization is based in Dharmsala, India. India is home to about 100,000 Tibetan exiles who have fled since a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
Karma Yeshi, a Tibetan Youth Congress official in Dharmsala, said the organization as a whole was not responsible for the threats. ``This office has no knowledge of the document and it is not from us directly,'' he said. ``But we have some members throughout the world and maybe they are doing this for Tibet. We are not against it. I can't blame them.''
The Beijing bid was at the center of another controversy Wednesday involving a letter claiming that IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch interfered in the drafting of the evaluation report to favor Beijing.
The two-page letter to Toronto newspapers was signed by ``an IOC member'' and claimed that Samaranch had several sentences changed from the original report.
``The document in question is a blatant forgery, as is the contents of the allegations it contains,'' the IOC said in a statement.
The letter appears to be a fake. Among other things, in the letterhead, the word ``Committee'' in International Olympic Committee is misspelled with only one ``e.''
Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the evaluation commission, said the panel conducted its report ``in total independence and with no intervention whatsoever from the IOC president.''
TIBETAN YOUTH CONGRESS STATEMENT ON
BOYCOTT OLYMPICS 2008 IN CHINA
Dharamsala, June 14, 2001 - Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) is the largest non-governmental organization within the Tibetan community in Exile fighting for the complete independence of Tibet with 74 Regional Tibetan Youth Congress chapters spread over four continents.
TYC had successfully campaigned for the Boycott Olympic 2000 in China in the past. We are continuing our efforts to deprive China of the Olympic 2008. The political map of China has not changed since we campaigned for the boycott last time. And there is no sign that the political repression is easing out in the near future. Human Rights violations, Religious repression, Increasing number of prisoners of conscience and extremist policy to erase the national identity of the Tibetans, Uigurs and Inner Mongolians are clear indication to that end. Not only that there is no indication of political change in sight, but also there could be public unrest and disruption at any time before 2008. Who can guarantee that political situation will be stable and conducive to hold Olympic in 2008.
Tibetan Youth Congress has engaged in peaceful campaigns in the past and will do so in the future. Our efforts will continue till the end.
Hitler has used 1936 Olympics to shoe shine his international image. But he did not abandon his fascist policies after the game. The Moscow Olympic 1980, held by the red communist regime was boycotted by almost half of the world community. And China is using the same old trick to polish their international image with this Olympic effort. If China is awarded Olympic 2008 without any respect to the world opinion, only China and International Olympic Committee are responsible for the consequence thereafter. We hope and expect that International Olympic Committee will not be a shoe shiner this time.
The civilized world and its umbrella organizations that champion the cause for freedom and democracy should not be subservient to the order of repressive, dictatorial and authoritarian regimes. Or they should stop calling themselves civilized society if they can not behave like one.
We appeal to the International Olympic Committee to respect the peaceful expressions of the freedom loving people from every corner of the world and see to it that justice must prevail upon injustice.
Tseten Norbu President Dharamsala Issued on June 14, 2001