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Beijing 2008 Games will improve human rights-Rogge

Written by: Staff

SEOUL, Apr 5 (Reuters) The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will help improve human rights conditions in China, International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said today.

The IOC has been criticised by human rights groups in the past for awarding the Games to Communist China in 2001 on the grounds of what they said were gross and systematic human rights violations.

Beijing has repeatedly rejected the claims, saying the Games would show the world the social changes the country has undergone in past years.

''The IOC is absolutely clear that it wants full respect of human rights,'' Rogge told reporters ahead of a meeting of the Olympic body's Executive Board.

''It is however not its task to monitor human rights; we are not equipped to do that.'' But he said the number of foreign journalists who would cover the Games in 2008 and the international media scrutiny Beijing has been under since winning the bid to host the Olympics would improve its human rights track record.

''The staging of the Beijing Games will do a lot for human rights and social relations,'' he said. ''We are sure that this is going to be the case.'' He said that point had also been made by the Chinese when bidding for Olympics.

''Having 20 to 25,000 press people covering, will open up the country to the whole world. That will have a positive effect.'' China, operating under a one-party political system, has among the highest number of executions in the world.

Reuters PDS GC1140

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