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US Treasury Secretary to Raise Tibet Issue in China


A U.S. official says Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will raise American concerns about China's actions in Tibet during his talks next week in Beijing.

President Bush and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd both are urging China to open talks with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, about the recent protests in Lhasa and other areas.

Mr. Rudd said it is absolutely clear that there are human-rights abuses in Tibet. Speaking in Washington Friday after meeting with Mr. Bush, the Australian leader called on China to exercise restraint when dealing with protesters. He says he will raise the issue when he visits China next month.

Mr. Bush said he has spoken by telephone with Chinese President Hu Jintao during the past week, encouraging the leadership in Beijing to engage in talks with the Dalai Lama. Mr. Bush says such a dialogue is in China's best interest.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who also spoke out on the Tibet issue Friday, says boycotting the Beijing Olympics would be ineffective and would insult the Chinese people.

European foreign ministers are divided over a proposal they have received to boycott the August games' opening ceremony, in response to China's crackdown in Tibet. The European Parliament, which has no direct say over EU foreign policy, has invited the Dalai Lama to the EU assembly to plead his cause. However, EU officials say they do not expect any move for a full boycott of the athletic contests - such as the boycott the United States led against the 1980 Moscow Olympics, following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

Greece has deployed more than 2,000 police in Athens to guard the Beijing Olympics torch when it arrives in the Greek capital later Saturday.

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

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