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German Athlete to Boycott Beijing Opening
Phayul[Wednesday, April 16, 2008 19:56]
By Tenzin Chodon

New Delhi, April 16 - In what was supposed to be the year of China showcasing their growing openness and economic development, the Tibet Crisis has been the dominating agenda.

The Beijing Olympics is increasingly proving an opportunity for critics to bash China's human rights abuses, treatment of minorities and tightly controlled media. Human rights and activist groups have constantly called on world leaders to boycott the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games.

A German Olympic judo gold medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens Yvonne Boenisch said that she would not take part in the opening ceremony in protest of human rights violations in Tibet.

"I want to send a signal and I will not take part in the opening ceremony," Boenisch said and she would also wear a wrist band in protest over China's crackdown in Tibet, but ruled out skipping the Games themselves.

The world is watching with keen eyes on how China handles the turmoil in Tibet. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that there were significant human rights problems in Tibet in a speech delivered to university students in China. His remarks came after the appalling atrocities carried out by the Chinese military in their concentrated effort to eliminate anything that was pro-Tibet or for that matter anti-China.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first world leader to announce that she would not attend the Olympics in Beijing.

Donald Tusk, Poland's prime minister, became the first EU head of government to announce a boycott on Thursday and he was promptly joined by President Václav Klaus of the Czech Republic, who had previously promised to travel to Beijing.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested that he might consider boycotting the event unless China opens a dialogue with the Dalai Lama to find a political solution to the unrest. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirmed that he will not attend the Opening of the Olympics.

UN Chief Ban Ki Moon had earlier conveyed that he would not attend the Beijing Olympics because of ‘scheduling issues’.

President George Bush too is under pressure to boycott the ceremony from the powerful Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

All three presidential hopefuls Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton - both Democrats and John McCain, Republican favour Bush skipping the ceremony.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that he plans to stay away from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

The European Parliament too has urged the leaders of its 27 member countries to boycott the opening ceremony unless China opens dialogue with the Dalai Lama, a condition unlikely to be met.

With many world leaders boycotting the opening of the Olympics and athletes now joining in, the world will have to wait and watch whether August 8 will be a delightful spectacle as it promised out to be or a debacle with the human rights issue looming large on the face of the Chinese regime.
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