French Senate President Christian
Poncelet (L) reads President Nicolas Sarkozy's sympathy note to Chinese
torchbearer Jin Jing (front R) in Shanghai, east China, April 21, 2008.
SHANGHAI, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Visiting French Senate
President Christian Poncelet made a special trip to meet with Chinese
torchbearer Jin Jing upon his arrival in Shanghai Monday morning.
Poncelet also conveyed President Nicolas Sarkozy's
sympathy note to Jin Jing, a wheelchair-bound fencer who was attacked during the
Olympics torch relay in Paris.
"I would like to express to you my deep feeling
towards the way you were shoved in Paris on April 7 when you were holding the
Olympic flame. You showed an outstanding courage, which honors you, and (through
you) all your country," Sarkozy was quoted as saying in the letter.
On April 7, the torch relay in Paris was interrupted
many times. The most notable incident was that several supporters of "Tibetan
independence" rushed toward Jin Jing and tried to snatch the torch.
"I understand that the Chinese people's feelings were
hurt by what went on that day, and especially by the intolerable attack you
suffered and which I condemn with the utmost force," Poncelet read from
President Sarkozy's letter.
French Senate President Christian
Poncelet (front L) hands over President Nicolas Sarkozy's sympathy note to
Chinese torchbearer Jin Jing (R) in Shanghai, east China, April 21, 2008.
"What happened in Paris on April 7 has engendered a
feeling of bitterness in your country. I want to assure you that the incidents
that were brought about by a few people on this sad day don't reflect the
feelings of my fellow countrymen for the Chinese people," the letter says.
Sarkozy also invited Jin Jing to come to France in
the near future as his personal guest as well as French people's guest, in a bid
to erase that "painful moment".
Poncelet's special visit was made amid China's
growing anger with France mainly due to the disruption of the torch relay by
Tibetan secessionists during the chaotic Paris leg.
Calling upon Jin Jing at Shanghai Disabled Persons'
Sport Training Center, Poncelet hugged and kissed the girl, who was honored by
the Chinese as a "smiling wheel-chaired angel".
He told reporters that to call on Jin Jing is the
shared wish of all his delegation members, coming from various parties of France
and representing all the French people.
Regarding his current China trip as at a sensitive
moment, Poncelet said the French people were astonished by the attack Jin
suffered in Paris, which not only hurt the Chinese but also the French.
"Although something unhappy happened, we should make
efforts to strengthen the Sino-France friendship," he added.
After reading Sarkozy's letter, the grey-haired
Poncelet presented Jin with a bouquet of lilies, wishing her greater
achievements in future sports competitions.
Jin Jing was attacked during the
Olympics torch relay in Paris.(Xinhua Photo)
"To protect the torch is what every Chinese and every
athlete is ready to do. When I joined the torch relay in Paris, I not only
passed on the Olympic flame, but also the Chinese people's friendship with the
French," said a smiling Jin.
She said she was very glad to be invited by President
Sarkozy to France, adding she hopes to contribute her own efforts to cementing
the Sino-France friendship.
The 27-year-old Jin also wished French athletes
excellent performances at the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, and a happy stay
"We Chinese people will certainly welcome French
people and athletes to China with a tolerant, friendly and passionate attitude,"
Poncelet is paying his third China trip as French
Senate president from April 21-27, at the invitation of Chinese top legislator
"We believe the Beijing Olympics would be a
successful Olympic Games. The French people expect its complete success. Every
one of us should exert efforts for that," Poncelet said.
Handicapped Jin receives hero's
welcome for protecting Olympic torch in Paris
BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) -- She has been called the
"Smiling Angel in Wheelchair" and the "Most Beautiful Torchbearer" by Chinese
netizens after showing incredible courage in protecting the Olympic torch in
Paris from repeated assaults by Tibetan separatists.
Jin Jing, a Paralympic fencer, returned home on Wednesday
and received a hero's welcome when she was recognized by people at Beijing's
Capital International Airport. Full Story