More and more calls to boycott the Beijing Olympics

As international support for Tibet increases, a number of international organizations have called for a boycott of the Olympic Games in China later this year.

Events of the past few days in Tibet will undoubtedly make many international organizations more hostile than ever towards the Chinese regime. Reporters Without Borders, for example, has been running a campaign with the slogan "China: the world's biggest prison for journalists and cyber-dissidents" for several months. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) today called for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. According to AlertNet, French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, has already said that he will give the idea some thought.

Human Rights Watch (HRW, has also expressed support for the idea, although it believes the boycott should be political: HRW wants governments to "demand an improvement before committing themselves to going to the Olympics", according to Le Monde.

Other notable politicians who have taken a stance on the issue include Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, and Ma Yong-Jeou, a candidate in the upcoming Taiwanese presidential elections. Pöttering has described the situation in Tibet as unacceptable and is in favour of "sending Beijing a message", while, according to Le Monde, Yong-Jeou has said that he might be in favour of Taiwan boycotting the Olympics if he wins the elections: "If the Chinese authorities continue to repress the people of Tibet, and if the situation worsens, and if I am chosen as President, I am not ruling out the possibility of keeping our athletes at home."

What remains uncertain for the time being is whether there will be any significant support for a "political" boycott of the opening ceremony and whether the competitors will add their voices to the wave of protests against China. Last week it emerged that members of the British Olympic team had been told not to express their views on Tibet in public. Yesterday, the Slovenian Sports Minister said that he was against any form of boycott. But there is unlikely to be a unified stance on the issue. Only today the Swiss Olympic Committee announced that it could not "sit back and do nothing."


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