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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."

Boycotting the Olympics

August 1, 2008

Baltic Times, Latvia
Jul 30, 2008
In cooperation with BNS

VILNIUS -- Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus has decided not to go
to the Beijing Summer Olympic Games 2008, announced his press service.

According to the press release, the Lithuanian Head-of-State will not
take part in the opening of the Olympic Games, however plans to
attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) this fall.

The release notes that Adamkus wishes the greatest of luck to the
Lithuanian athletes and plans on be active in rooting for their success.

Having noted that hosting the Olympic Games is a great honor and
responsibility for any country, as it thus becomes committed to
maintain and respect the spirit and principles of the Olympics,
Adamkus wished China the best of luck in organizing this global athletic event.

The Lithuanian Head-of-State also hopes that the Olympic Games will
help the world to become more familiar with China's rich history,
culture and people, and China's opening up to the world and the
dialogue and progress currently in development will be successfully
continued after the games as well.

As the president decided against going to Beijing, the country's
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas will be the highest-ranking
Lithuanian official present in the Olympic Games. The prime minister
will be visiting in China together with his wife August 17-25th.

Worldwide prompts for boycotting the Beijing Olympic Games spread
following actions taken by the Chinese government to suppress unrest
that broke out this spring in Tibet. A non-formal freedom for Tibet
support group operating in Lithuania has also made analogous
exhortations many a time and went on to gather signatures of over
3,000 inhabitants in favor of the initiative.

Mass protests against China's rule in Tibet broke out in March.
Encounters between Tibetans and Chinese police as well as army units
were reported, claiming human lives. Protests in Tibet's capital
Lhasa turned into riots and later extended to neighboring regions of
China with a large population of Tibetans.

Lithuania and other members of the European Union (EU) have stated
concern over the unrest in Tibet, speaking for peaceful regulation of
the relations between the Chinese administration and Tibetan
spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

The president's decision not to attend the opening of the Olympic
Games in Beijing is the only possible political move to draw the
attention to the Tibet issue, says Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas.

"I see the president's move as a certain political move of support to
Tibet's independence aspiration. The president is not attending the
opening ceremony, and participation in the Olympic Games in general
is an entirely different thing. I am a guest invited by the
International Olympic Committee and I intend to be there to support
our athletes," the vacationing prime minister said.

In an interview to BNS, the prime minister restated that the essence
of Olympic Games is that "people set aside conflicts and wars."

"I believe sports and politics should not be confused. However, on
the other hand, non-participation in the Opening Ceremony of the
Olympic Games is the only possible move to draw the attention to
Tibetan problems," said Kirkilas.
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