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"China believe human rights should not be a factor"
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banner Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Beijing awaits Olympic verdict
Toy pandas placed near a Chinese flag at the IOC meeting in Moscow
Beijing is hot favourite despite human rights concerns
Click here for more on each bidding city

Beijing's Olympic bid organisers have promised to give the world's media "complete freedom" if the Chinese capital is awarded the 2008 Games.

Beijing, which lost to Sydney by only two votes in its bid to host the 2000 Games, is favourite to win Friday's vote by the International Olympic Committee.

Toronto and Paris are the other front-runners with the two remaining candidates, Istanbul and Osaka, regarded as outsiders.

"I think we will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China," said Wang Wei, secretary-general of the Beijing bid committee.

"We have made our guarantees in our bid document so all the world's media will be welcome to come to China."

Paris stresses human rights factor

A senior figure involved in Paris' Olympic 2008 campaign appears to have made an indirect reference to China's human rights record.

Paris bid officials have promised a sporting spectacular but were also keen to stress to IOC officials that other factors needed to be taken into account.

"Our bid like other bids is in line with what is desirable in terms of human rights," said Jean-Paul Huchon, President of the Regional Council of Ile de France.

"This cannot be out of the minds of those who have to take the final decision," he said.

"France, I think, has a rather outstanding track record."

Toronto focuses on 'athletes'

Toronto's bid officials, seen as Beijing's closest rivals, were intent on sidestepping the human rights issue and concentrating instead on their "athletes first" bid.

Bid leader John Bitove and Ontario premier Mike Harris, spent most of their official 45-minute media briefing relaying their message - "a bid by athletes for athletes".

"What makes the Olympics movement strong is when they focus on the Games and what makes the Games strong is when you focus on the athletes," added Bitove.

"And that's what this bid's about and hopefully that's what the IOC members will decide."

Osaka on defensive

Osaka mayor Takafumi Isomura has rejected concerns from the IOC evaluation committee that the city will not be able to finance the Japanese bid.

The IOC report also expressed reservations about potential traffic congestion.

"Osaka's bid is rock solid," Isomura told a news conference.

"Two-thirds of the necessary venues are already there in place.

"The two-thirds are already being used by the citizens. There is a sound financial base. It is unfortunate we were unable to convince the evaluation committee."

Istanbul relies on 'sympathy'

Rank outsider Istanbul said it was relying the compassionate vote to secure victory in its third victory to host the Games.

"There is sympathy for Istanbul," Turkish International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sinan Erdem, told a media briefing.

"This is our third time and we have been working very hard and tomorrow the IOC will show sympathy with the vote."

"Barcelona first bid for the Games in 1936 and got them in 1992," he added.

"You have to work hard for the Games and we believe we are able to organise a good Games.

"But ask me tomorrow if we will try again. Right now we are only focused on tomorrow."

BBC Sport Online has full coverage of the IOC's 112th Session from Moscow, including live webcasts of the final result.

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