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EU Officials to Promote Economic Ties, Human Rights in China


A top European Union trade official has urged China to make it clear that it rejects boycotts of European goods following tensions over Tibet.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson warned on Thursday that threats of boycotts from either side would only create resentment and deepen differences.

Earlier this month, the European Parliament had urged EU leaders to boycott the Olympic Games opening ceremony in August unless Beijing talks with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Chinese nationalists reacted by calling for a boycott of European goods.

Chinese officials have since sought to diffuse an upsurge of anti-western sentiment by urging Chinese citizens to show their patriotism in a calm and legal way. Chinese officials have also praised a French retail company, Carrefour, which has recently been targeted by protesters.

But Mandelson says a stronger message is needed.

China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, reports that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and other EU officials arrived in Beijing Thursday afternoon. Barroso is in China for talks on trade, energy and environment. In a statement ahead of the trip, his spokesman confirmed that he will also raise the issue of Tibet with the Chinese leadership.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told reporters in Tokyo that Tibet will be high on her agenda during the China visit.

Beijing says Tibet is China's internal affair.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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