Hu tells media 'don't politicise Olympics'

In a rare interview with foreign reporters, Chinese President Hu Jintao has said efforts to politicise next week's Beijing Games over disputes on a wide range of issues would not work and were contrary to the Olympic spirit.

"It's only inevitable that people from different countries and regions of the world don't see eye to eye on certain issues," Mr Hu said.

"I don't think politicising the Olympic Games will do any good to address these issues.

"It runs counter to the Olympic spirit and also to the shared aspirations of the people of the world."

During the 70-minute meeting, Mr Hu also said China welcomed foreign journalists, but they should abide by Chinese laws.

"As always we will continue to provide facilities for foreign journalists coming to China to report," Mr Hu said.

"Of course, we also hope the foreign reporters will abide by Chinese laws and regulations.

"We also hope you will provide objective reports of what you see here."

Asked about the outlook for the world's fourth largest economy, Mr Hu said his Government would aim to maintain fast growth despite difficulties at home and abroad.

"New uncertainties and destabilising factors in the international environment are increasing," he said.

"China's domestic economy is facing increasing difficulties and challenges. We will [aim to] maintain steady and fast economic growth on the one hand and control excessively growing prices on the other."

Even as China grows bigger — and grabs the headlines with this month's Olympics — it poses no threat to the rest of the world, he said.

"By hosting the Beijing Games we will show the world that the Chinese people are a peace-loving nation," Mr Hu said.

"For a long time China has pursued a military policy that is defensive in nature. It will never seek hegemonism, China's development will in no way affect or threaten the interests of others."

Copyright © 2008 AFP

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Australian Broadcasting – www.abc.net.au/news/stories/ 2008/08/01/2321759.htm?site=olympics/2008