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Anti-China Protests Staged Around World on First Day Of Olympics

As the Summer Olympics began in Beijing Friday, protests against China's human rights policies were held around the world. VOA's Kent Klein reports from the protest in Washington.

At the precise moment the Olympics' opening ceremonies were beginning in Beijing several dozen people were gathered in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington to object to China's alleged abuses of numerous groups. It was one of numerous demonstrations against Chinese policies in cities around the world.

The protesters shouted "Stop the killings in Tibet!" "Shame on China!" "Shame, shame, China shame!"

Tala Dowlatshahi, from the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, which organized the protest, said China has not kept its promise to allow greater press freedom in conjunction with the Olympics. "This is not an Olympics based on unity. It's an Olympics based on injustice, imprisonment, unfair treatment of journalists and internet bloggers and dissidents."

Dowlatshahi says, among other abuses, two Japanese television journalists, one from Nippon Television and one from Shimbun, were attacked in China this week.

Media reports from China do not mention any comments from authorities on this incident.

Republican U.S. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter was among the other speakers who blasted China's record on human rights in general. "We stand for the freedom of our fellow human beings, and that we realize that the promotion and preservation of liberty throughout the world ensures it here in America for ourselves," he said.

China's Foreign Ministry said this week it opposes "any words or acts" that interfere in the country's internal affairs.

Some of the demonstrators in Washington were protesting the Chinese government's opposition to the Falun Gong meditation and exercise movement. Beijing considers Falun Gong a cult.

Most of the demonstration concerned Tibet and demonstrators shorted slogans such as "Free Tibet now!" "Stop the killings in Tibet!" "Stop the genocide in Tibet!" Tibetan exiles and other people throughout the world have been showing their support for the uprising that began in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, in March.

Protesters in Washington accused the Beijing government of torture, murder and genocide in Tibet.