World News

China condemns Pelosi comments on torch relay

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday sharply denounced comments by speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in support of anticipated protests at Wednesday’s Olympic torch relay in San Francisco.

Pelosi said on Tuesday that she commended those who were expected to protest along the torch’s route in San Francisco on Wednesday, saying they would be making a “significant statement that the Olympic ideals of peace and harmony should apply to all people, including those in Tibet and Darfur”.

In a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Web site about Pelosi’s comments, ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu called the torch relay in San Francisco, its only stop in the United States, a “grand occasion” between the two countries.

“For some members of the U.S. Congress to set aside the Olympic spirit and the principle that sports should not be politicised, and even to openly encourage interference with and harm to the San Francisco torch relay, completely lacks basic morals and conscience,” Jiang said.

“We advise those very few in the U.S. Congress (who are doing so) to immediately stop interfering with and bringing harm to the Olympics and the torch relay,” she said.

Reporting by Jason Subler; Editing by Giles Elgood