Scheduled to attend the closing ceremonies of the Olympics in China, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued an advance statement that Chinese officials should not abuse their police authority during the Games. From Voice of America:
At a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark in Auckland Saturday, Rice said China should showcase not just the Olympics, but an attitude of openness and tolerance.
Neither Rice nor the prime minister expressed any concerns about the safety of U.S. or New Zealand athletes.
Also from AFP:
Rice’s comments in New Zealand highlighted the diplomatic tightrope the Bush administration is walking over the Olympics by insisting the Games are not a political venue but stepping up public criticism of Beijing’s rights record.
The chief US diplomat, when questioned about how China dealt with security issues, said “of course security threats have to be dealt with… but security should not become a cover to deal with dissent.”
She was echoing comments by her New Zealand host Prime Minister Helen Clark, who said any protests in China “need to be dealt with proportionately and with the due restraint.”