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Ogi defends China visit in parliament

The president, Adolf Ogi, has rejected allegations that he praised Beijing's human rights record during a recent visit to China.

Ogi said on Monday that he had merely shown recognition for the positive impact that social and economic development had had in China over the past 20 years.

The president was speaking in parliament in response to demands for clarification requested by the Radical Party and the Greens, regarding Ogi’s allegedly positive tone towards Beijing on the issue of human rights.

He said that at no time had he congratulated the Chinese on their human rights policies, contrary to what had been reported in the media.

Ogi told the assembly that huge differences remained between Berne and Beijing over human rights. He pointed to the rights of minorities and religious freedom in particular – a reference to Tibet’s struggle for sovereignty and the outlawed Falun Gong religious movement.

However, the Swiss president emphasised the fact that he was confident that in due course progress in China would be made.

Ogi visited China earlier this month to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR