March 18, 2008 in Nation/World

Nations oppose Olympics boycott

Raf Casert Associated Press
Associated Press photo

A man prays during a protest against the Chinese crackdown on dissent in Tibet, in front of the Chinese embassy in Berlin on Monday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia – Amid escalating violence in and around Tibet, the message from around the world was clear: “Let the games begin.”

European nations and Olympic committees said Monday they opposed a boycott of the Beijing Games over China’s handling of the unrest in Tibet. And most everyone else who spoke out, from Russia to the United States to Australia, echoed that approach.

“Under no circumstance will we support the boycott. We are 100 percent unanimous,” Patrick Hickey, the head of the European Olympic Committees, said. ” … A boycott is only a punishment of the athletes.”

Christiane Hohmann, a spokeswoman for the EU’s executive commission, said “such a boycott would not be the appropriate way” to voice concerns of human rights or rights of those in Tibet.

World 50-meter butterfly champion Roland Schoeman, however, supported calls for the IOC to take a stand.

The IOC “should stand up and say, ‘The way these people are being treated is not acceptable,’ ” the South African swimmer said.

“Either you put an end to this or else. The ‘or else’ could be extreme or it could be a set of conditions.”

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