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Tue 18 Mar 2008 07:43 AM

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EU opposes Olympics boycott

The European Commission expressed concern about Tibet, but has opposed any Olympic boycott.

The European Commission expressed concern Monday about the unrest in Tibet, but opposed any boycott on the Beijing Olympic Games this summer.

"We are very concerned by the events in Tibet and we are calling for restraint on all sides," the commission's external relations spokeswoman said.

On the Olympics, she said: "In our view, such a boycott would not be the appropriate way to address the work for respect of the human rights, which means the ethnic and religious rights, of the Tibetans."

"It's something that has to be done in a different way," she said.

The reaction came as exiled Tibetan leaders said that about 100 people, and possibly hundreds, had been killed in the Chinese crackdown on protests in Lhasa and throughout the Himalayan region.

As the standoff continued Monday, China warned Tibetans involved in anti-Chinese protests to surrender quickly and insisted it had not used deadly force in quelling the unrest, blaming rioters for murdering 13 people.

"We urge the Chinese authorities, of course, to show restraint in their reaction against those who are involved in the unrest," spokeswoman Christiane Hohmann said.

"We also call on the demonstrators to desist from violence. At the same time, we urge the Chinese authorities not to use force against peaceful demonstrators."

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