French officials in China to ease tension

April 22, 2008 at 4:40 PM

SHANGHAI, April 22 (UPI) -- The president of the French Senate was in China Tuesday to discuss ways head off a Chinese boycott of French products.

President of the Senate Christian Poncelet arrived Monday in Shanghai bearing an invitation for a symbolic return trip to France by a Chinese wheelchair athlete who was accosted by pro-Tibet demonstrators during the Olympic torch relay in Paris, Voice of America reported.

Images of the athlete, Jin Jing, trying to fend off the demonstrators and protect the Olympic flame have become a symbol of Chinese outrage over the protests.

The uproar has led to calls for boycotts of French goods and stores belonging to a French supermarket chain.

Other French officials arrive in China this week along with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

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