Giant on the move
Bush heads to Beijing for Olympics opening ceremony — your views
U.S President George W. Bush is on his way to Beijing to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, much to the pleasure of the Chinese government, but not everyone believes he and other heads of government should be here.
Some politicians and human rights groups urged Bush to boycott the opening ceremony in protest at China’s crackdown in Tibet, and what they see as the lack of progress on broadening domestic freedoms. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also taken a lot of heat for his decision to attend the opening of the Olympics as holder of the EU presidency.
Although by no means everyone agreed, I think a broad consensus emerged earlier this year, certainly among athletes, that large-scale boycotts of the Olympics, as we saw at the Moscow and Los Angeles Games, are both ineffective politically and unfair to those who have worked so hard for the right to participate.
But what about the idea of political leaders boycotting the opening ceremony, as some have suggested?
Bush, a huge sports fan, says that staying away would make it more difficult to raise human rights issues when he meets President Hu Jintao. His critics say his presence is just a PR coup for the Chinese leadership.
After a meeting at the White House in July this year, President Hu said he he welcomed his counterpart’s coming visit to the Opening Ceremony, adding: ”I highly appreciated that President Bush has on various occasions expressed his opposition to politicising the Olympic Games.”
Do you think he, and other world leaders should be there? Is there a big fat line between sports and politics, as the IOC suggests? Give us your thoughts in the comments.