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U.S. House panel vote opposing Beijing Games is farce, China says

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday dismissed as a "farce" a vote by U.S. lawmakers to oppose Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics on human rights grounds.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday's largely symbolic vote by a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives inappropriately mixed politics with sports.

"Discrimination against any country or individual in the name of gender, race, politics, religion or other reasons is in violation of the spirit of the Olympic Games," spokesman Sun Yuxi said.

"This farce will be cast aside by all justice-upholding people and countries of the world."

Sun also rejected speculation that China might seek to boost Beijing's bid by releasing some political prisoners, as it did in 1993 during the Chinese capital's failed bid for the 2000 Games.

In a nonbinding resolution, the House of Representatives' International Relations Committee said the games should not be held in Beijing unless China releases all political prisoners and ratifies an international treaty on political rights.

The International Olympic Committee will select the 2008 host on July 13. Beijing is competing with Toronto; Paris; Osaka, Japan; and Istanbul, Turkey.