IOC Concerned About Possible Olympics Boycott བོད་སྐད།

The International Olympic Committee says several top athletes are considering a boycott of this year's Beijing Olympics as a protest against China's crackdown on activists in Tibet.

During a one-day visit to the island of Saint Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean Sunday, IOC President Jacques Rogge said the Olympic Committee is very concerned about the situation as China prepares to host the Olympics in August.

Rogge said Saturday a boycott would only penalize athletes. He has declined to say whether the IOC would change its position if the crackdown continues.

IOC members and senior government officials in several European countries say that they oppose any boycott of the games.

France's Foreign Ministry expressed concern Sunday over recent events in Tibet and asked Chinese authorities to recognize the importance of protecting human rights in advance of the Olympics.

Tibetan exiles and their supporters in European cities and around the world organized another day of protests Sunday. Some called for a boycott of this year's Olympics. But, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he does not oppose Beijing's role as host of the summer games.

Chinese Olympic Committee officials said Sunday that the unrest in Tibet will not affect their plans to bring the Olympic torch through Tibet and up to the summit of Mount Everest in May.

During the past week, many world leaders have called on China to exercise restraint in dealing with Tibetan protesters. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called on Chinese authorities to release detained demonstrators and hold talks with the Dalai Lama.