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lawl...BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (AP) -- The president of the International Olympic Committee rejected the idea of boycotting the Summer Games in Beijing over China's crackdown in Tibet, saying it would only hurt athletes.
"We believe that the boycott doesn't solve anything," Jacques Rogge told reporters Saturday on this Caribbean island. "On the contrary, it is penalizing innocent athletes and it is stopping the organization from something that definitely is worthwhile organizing."
Demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet on Friday -- the most violent riots there in nearly two decades -- left at least 30 protesters dead, according to a Tibetan exile group. Tibetan exiles in India reported as many as 100 dead.
China ordered tourists out of Tibet's capital and troops patrolled the streets on Saturday.
On a six-day tour of the Caribbean, Rogge expressed condolences for the victims and said he hopes calm will be restored immediately. He declined to say whether the committee would change its stance if violence continues or more people are killed.
"The International Olympic Committee has consistently resisted calls for a boycott of the Olympic games," Rogge said. He declined to comment further on Tibet during a brief news conference.
The head of the Swiss Olympic Committee told state-owned DRS radio that he is against a boycott but wants the IOC to intervene with China over the troubles in Tibet.
"The Rubicon has been crossed," Joerg Schild said. "I can't bring myself to say that we're going to go there and do sport."
IOC vice president Thomas Bach said the committee will speak with China about human rights, but boycotting the games "would be the wrong way because that will cut lines of communication."
European officials joined the IOC in urging Beijing to end the violence and engage in dialogue, but also said politics should not intrude on the spirit of the games.
"The Olympics must be held in an atmosphere of true brotherhood," EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini told Italy's ANSA news agency. "Otherwise this feast of sport would be seriously at risk."
At least four major boycotts have occurred in Olympic history, but they mostly resulted in undue punishment for athletes, said David Wallechinsky, an author and vice president of the International Society of Olympic Historians.
It is unlikely the IOC would support a boycott despite the recent violence in Tibet, he said. The committee held the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City even though authorities had killed hundreds of nonviolent protesters days before the event, Wallechinsky said.
He condemned, however, the decision to host the games in China.
"The IOC asked for trouble when they put the Olympics in a country run by a dictatorship," he said. "Now it's come back to haunt them."
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