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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

German Athlete to Boycott Beijing Opening

April 17, 2008

By Tenzin Chodon
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

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

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

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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