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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

German Pole Vaulter Plans Tibet Protest at Olympics

March 21, 2008

German pole vaulter Anna Battke plans to protest China's intervention in
Tibet at the Beijing Olympics. Although Olympic regulations prohibit
political statements, Battke wants athletes to dress up as Tibetan monks
and Chinese officials and symbolically shake hands.

Spiegel Online, Germany

A German pole vaulter says she wants to protest China's intervention in
Tibet at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

"What is happening in Tibet at the moment is simply tragic," said Anna
Battke, a 23-year-old psychology student and athlete from the University
of Mainz Sport Club, in an interview with SPIEGEL.

The Beijing Games will provide competing athletes with an excellent
opportunity to make a public statement, Battke said: "It is the
obligation of athletes to call attention to injustice."

She envisions a demonstration that could take place during the opening
ceremony in Beijing in August, where athletes from across the world
would wear coordinated outfits representing a "world team." According to
Battke's idea, one group would dress as Tibetan monks, the other as
Chinese government officials: "Then we could symbolically shake hands
with each other."

The young athlete acknowledged that a collective demonstration with
other participants is unlikely, however. "If they have to choose, many
would feel that a nice Olympic victory is more important to them," she said.

The Olympic Charter bans any kind of political statements from the
games, but Battke says she won't be deterred, even if other athletes
don't want to take part in her protest. "I'll come up with something,
whatever happens," she said.

Battke still needs to qualify for the Olympics at the German track and
field championships in Nuremberg on July 5 and 6. Should Battke make the
cut, there is reason to believe she might make good on her protest
promise. Earlier this month, at the IAAF World Indoor Championships held
in Valencia, Spain, she competed with the slogan "stop doping" written
on her stomach in permanent marker.

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