(dpa) - German athletes are free to speak about Tibet and other sensitive issues at the Beijing Olympics, but only within Olympic rules, a top official reiterated.
Michael Vesper, the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) general director, told Saturday's edition of the Frankfurter Rundschau daily that these Olympic Charter guidelines outlawing any political or religious demonstrations in the Olympic areas were necessary.
"The sports stadium would turn into a global market place of opinions," Vesper said.
"Imagine a Serbian athlete demonstrating for Kosovo as a part of Serbia, the Kosovo athlete saying the opposite; Basques, Kurds or whoever plead their cause during the 10,000 metres race.
Vesper said every athlete will be able to voice his or her opinion in Beijing outside the Olympic areas. He insisted that the DOSB was not gagging its athletes but simply asking them to behave as responsible citizens and role models.
The DOSB said on Monday that it has no intention of boycotting the August 8-24 Games in Beijing over China's crushing of the unrest in Tibet.
Vesper said that the Olympics in fact gave the Tibet issue so many headlines.
"The papers are placing Tibet on the front page, television and radio are broadcasting special programmes. Why? Because the Games bring worldwide publicity," he said.