OSAKA — A Chinese government official said Tuesday that Osaka’s sponsoring of Sunday’s symposium denying the Rape of Nanking was now a Sino-Japanese problem that would have a negative impact on Osaka’s 2008 Olympic bid. “The Chinese government asked that Osaka city and prefecture not let the symposium take place, but it went ahead anyway. The national and local governments are responsible for what will be a negative impact on bilateral relations,” said An Jun Teng, deputy consul general at the Chinese consulate in Osaka. On Sunday, a local citizens’ group that claims the December 1937 Rape of Nanking did not occur held a symposium at the Osaka International Peace Center, which is jointly operated by the municipal and prefectural governments. The Chinese consulate staged protests against the symposium and attempted to halt the event. The Osaka Municipal and Prefectural governments defended the rights of local citizens, saying that they were entitled to voice their views under the Japanese Constitution. Teng, however, did not buy that argument. “The constitution was used as an excuse. The Japanese government has a duty and an obligation to take action that does not harm the Sino-Japanese relationship,” Teng said. “Osaka wants to be known as a city of peace and (wants to) host the 2008 Olympics. But holding such a symposium runs counter to the Olympic ideal of peace.”
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