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Pelosi rejects Olympics boycott: report

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has rejected calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics because of China's crackdown on protests in Tibet during a visit to Spain.

world Updated: Mar 27, 2008 03:38 IST

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has rejected calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics because of China's crackdown on protests in Tibet during a visit to Spain.

"I am not in favour of a boycott of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games are a sporting event," she told reporters in Barcelona on Tuesday, the Europa Press news agency reported.

Yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy refused to rule out an eventual boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on August 8 if China refuses to open a dialogue with the Dalai Lama on Tibet.

During a visit to India last week Pelosi made the first high-level call on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader after anti-Chinese protests led to violent clashes between Tibetans and Chinese police on March 14.

"If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China's oppression in Tibet, we have lost our moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world," the Democratic leader said during her visit.

China called Pelosi a "defender of arsonists, looters and killers" after she visited the Dalai Lama and criticised Chinese "oppression" in Tibet in a commentary about her trip to Dharamshala published by the Xinhua state news agency.

Dharamshala is the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, which has said at least 99 people died in the violence, as China launched a crackdown on protesters across Tibet and nearby regions.

The Dalai Lama, whom China blames for instigating the violence, fled Tibet in 1959 after an uprising against Chinese rule was violently put down.