All Chinese policies are aimed at "protecting the people's rights", Beijing 2022 officials have claimed here as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission visit opened, with groups using the bid to "achieve political goals" criticised.
It follows publication last week of a report by a global coalition of 175 pro-Tibet organisations calling for the Chinese bid to be rejected because promises over improving human rights pledged ahead of the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics had been "broken".
The report, hand-delivered to the IOC in Lausanne to coincide with the inspection amid widespread international coverage, cites supposedly greater repression in Tibet, the south-western region which has long struggled to gain independence.
But Beijing 2022 media and communications director Wang Hui claimed "the progress of Chinese human rights is there for everyone to see around the world", in response to a question from insidethegames this evening.
"All the policies here in China are aimed at protecting the people's rights," she added.
"The Olympics is a symbol of friendship, peace and progress and now China is devoting itself to the bid for the 2022 Winter Games.
"This is a huge event and a shared aspiration of Chinese people.
"Of course, there will be certain individuals who will take the chance to do something to serve their own interests and purpose.
''This sort of behavior goes against the Olympic spirit and shows disrespect to the Olympic family.
"As the Bid Committee, we support the Olympic spirit and support the Olympic Charter, and will keep sport independent from politics.
"And we oppose any behaviour aimed at achieving their own political goals while opposing the bid for the Olympic Winter Games."
Human rights, and in particular the question of Tibet, was an issue which dogged preparations for Beijing 2008, and is a challenge this time around both for the Chinese capital and its only remaining rival, Almaty in Kazakhstan.
This is particularly because of a new clause inserted into the Host City Contract signed by both candidates outlawing "any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise".
Recent comments by IOC President Thomas Bach have also contradicted the claim sport is independent from politics, with the German having also admitted this month that the IOC does "not always agree with political or legal systems in host countries".
But China's IOC Athletes' Commission member Yang Yang, a two-time gold medal winning short-track speed skater at Salt Lake City 2002, ignored the Contract changes when claiming how, "in the Olympic Charter, there is only one sentence about human rights, which says that participants [sic] of the Olympic Movement is the basic human right".
This followed the first of five days of inspections here today, which began with speeches from vice-premier Liu Yandong, Chinese Olympic Committee President Liu Peng and Beijing Mayor and Bid leader, Wang Anshun.
Liu, also a member of the ruling Politburo of the Communist Party of China, reiterated the strong Government support from all levels, something seen as a key strength of the Bid, while commitment to the principles of Agenda 2020 was also repeated.
A series of ice sport venues in the city centre were visited this afternoon, including the iconic Bird's Nest Stadium where Opening and Closing Ceremonies would be held, and the Water Cube, which would host curling and be known as the "Ice Cube" during the Games.
Projected ice hockey venues at the National Indoor Stadium and Wukesong Sport Centre were also inspected, as well as the Capital Indoor Stadium where short track and figure skating would take place, and the yet-to-be-constructed National Speed Skating Stadium and Athletes' Village sites.
The Commission, chaired by Russia's Alexander Zhukov, will spend another day in the capital tomorrow before departing tomorrow for Zhangjiakou, the mountain-cluster around 190 kilometres to the north-west.
Zhukov is joined by two other IOC members on the 10-strong panel, Britain's Adam Pengilly and Japan's Tsunekazu Takeda, after a third, New Zealand's Barry Maister, was forced to return home yesterday for personal reasons.
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