Olympic torch relay marked by protests

Dalai LamaWorld attention continues to be focused on human rights abuses in Tibet. The relay of the Olympic torch from Greece to China has been marked by protests in London and Paris. An estimated 10,000 protesters gathered in San Francisco, although the protests may have been subdued by the rerouting of the torch relay at the last minute, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Despite the ongoing protests, the Assembly of National Olympic Committees issues only a watered down statement, expressing confidence that China would strive to find through dialog and understanding a “fair and reasonable solution” to “the internal conflict”, The Hindu News Update Service reported. Although this was clearly a reference to Tibet, the word Tibet was omitted in the final draft of the statement.

According to the BBC, the head of the International Olympic Committee has said anti-China protests had created a “crisis” but that the Games in Beijing would “rebound”. Mr Rogge urged China to respect its “moral engagement” to improve human rights ahead of the Games.

The BBC also reported that world leaders are continuing their attention on the the human rights situation in Tibet, with members of the European Parliament calling on EU leaders to boycott the games if there was no resumption of dialog between China and the Dalai Lama. Both Democratic presidential hopefuls have called on President George W Bush to consider boycotting the Beijing opening ceremony if China does not improve its human rights record.

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