Athletes urge China to resolve Tibet issue peacefully

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Dharamshala, Aug 7 (UNI) As many as 127 athletes, including Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic and 110m hurdles world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba, have appealed to China's President Hu Jintao to find a peaceful solution to the issue of Tibet and improve the human rights situation in China.

In a press release issued here, the Tibetan government-in-exile said that the athletes in a letter to the Chinese President urged him to protect freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of opinion in China, including Tibet.

The release stated that the letter was based on an initiative called ''Sports for Peace'' and it was posted on their website yesterday.

The athletes also urged Mr Hu ''to ensure that human rights defenders are no longer intimidated or imprisoned and to end the death penalty''. ''China is the focus of worldwide attention. Your decision on these issues will determine the success of the Olympic Games and the image the world will have of China in future,'' the athletes said in their brief statement.

''We are asking you to respect human rights in China in order to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation,'' the athletes demanded.

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