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AFP 关于陈凯评奥运文章 Canada won't boycott Beijing Games
Olympics: Winter Games host Canada won't boycott Beijing Games
Tue Mar 18, 7:47 PM
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Canada has rebuffed calls for a boycott of the Beijing Games, saying that shunning the host country is largely ineffective and victimizes the athletes.
China's handling of the Tibet crisis has become a flashpoint in the international community, but athletes shouldn't be used as pawns in political games, Chris Rudge, chief executive of the Canadian Olympic Committee said.
"Absolutely not," Rudge told AFP on Tuesday. "Things may not be happening in China as quickly as we would like but to use the athletes as pawns is entirely inappropriate. Past boycotts have shown that."
The violence in Tibet has raised pressure on countries like 2010 Winter Games host Canada and the ecomomic powerhouse United States to boycott the Summer Games from August 8-24.
The Americans have not officially announced any decision on a boycott.
American President George W. Bush has previously stated he would attend. United States Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel did not return calls on Tuesday.
Canada is the hosting the 2010 Games in Vancouver and the ski resort of Whistler and so any boycott of the Beijing Games might affect their chances of staging a successful Olympics.
With just five months to go before the Summer Games, China is facing more criticism over its human rights and political record. But Rudge believes there are other ways to exert pressure on China.
"I think the 20,000 journalists will report on what things are like there," Rudge said. "We (COC) are a sports organization and not a political group. We believe the presence of an Olympic Games is a force for good in the world and a force for positive change."
Canada will send a delegation of 470 to Beijing, including 330 athletes. Sylvie Bernier, Canada's chef de mission for the 2008 Beijing Games, echoed Rudge's feelings.
"We believe boycotts are rarely effective and won't help the cause," she said.
Bernier said the COC has not received any pressure from the Canadian government to boycott.
"We are aware people are talking about it (boycott) but no credible group or government is talking about a boycott. It would only penalize the athletes."
Bernier, who won a gold medal in diving for Canada in the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, said a Russian-led boycott that year sullied what should have been an international celebration of sport.
"I had East German and Russian friends who couldn't compete in Los Angeles and it was sad. As athletes we want everyone to be there," Bernier said.
Federal governments and not Olympic associations have ultimate authority to launch boycotts, much like in 1980 when the Americans were joined by Japan, China and Canada in boycotting the Moscow Olympics to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.
In February, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg dropped out as an Olympic adviser. Spielberg complained that China should be putting more pressure on Sudan to end the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur province.
Beijing has also come under pressure over its close ties to Myanmar's ruling junta.
The Americans led the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics which caused the Soviet Union to hit back by spearheading an Eastern Bloc boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Former Chinese national basketball team member Chen Kai was one of those who was denied his Olympic dream because of the 1980 boycott.
Chen, an anti-Chinese government activist who now lives in Los Angeles, took part in the student protests in Tiananmen Square.
But Chen doesn't support a boycott because he says he felt the sting of the one in 1980.
But he says athletes shouldn't be shy about making personal statements like skipping the Beijing Games opening ceremonies, wearing anti-Chinese government t-shirts or visiting Tiananmen Square.
"I am not for boycotting," Chen said. "I would have gone in 1980 so that is why I hesitate supporting a boycott for athletes' sake.
"But they (athletes) should do something so they don't look like they are standing with an oppressive regime."