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China's Crackdown in Tibet Prompts Talk of Olympic Boycott

By VOA News
16 March 2008

The International Olympic Committee says several top athletes are considering a boycott of this year's Beijing Olympics as a protest against China's crackdown on activists in Tibet.

However, IOC members and senior government officials in several European countries said Sunday that they oppose any boycott of the games beginning this August.

France's Foreign Ministry expressed concern Sunday over recent events in Tibet and asked Chinese authorities to recognize the importance of protecting human rights in advance of the Olympics.

Hundreds of pro-Tibet activists in The Hague and Paris clashed with police Sunday outside China's embassies in those countries. The protesters managed to pull down the embassies' Chinese flags and raise Tibetan banners.

Tibetan exiles and their supporters in other European cities and around the world organized another day of protests Sunday. Some called for a boycott of this year's Olympics, but Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he does not oppose Beijing's role as host of the summer games.

Chinese Olympic Committee officials said Sunday that the unrest in Tibet will not affect their plans to bring the Olympic torch through Tibet and up to the summit of Mount Everest during May.

During the past week, many world leaders have called on China to exercise restraint in dealing with Tibetan protesters. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called on Chinese authorities to release detained demonstrators and hold talks with the Dalai Lama.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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