(dpa) - Beijing Olympic organizers said Wednesday that the Games were not the place for politics as they battled calls to boycott the August competition or its opening ceremony over China's handling of the worst protests in Tibet in 20 years.
"To link the Olympics and politics is just not right," said Shao Shiwei, deputy media director for the organizing committee. "... The Olympics is a great festival for athletes. The Olympics are to promote world peace and not a place for politics.
Tibetan exiles have called for an Olympic boycott over the suppression of protests since last week by monks and other Tibetans against Chinese rule of the Himalayan region.
The humans rights group Reporters Without Borders called for government to at least boycott the August 8 opening ceremonies, which about 100 heads of state and government were expected to attend.
There were also calls to remove Tibet from the Olympic torch relay route, but the International Olympic Committee said in a statement Monday that it had no plans to change the route.