Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is the first world leader who has decided not to attend the Olympics in Beijing. She follows Poland's Prime Minister, Donald Tusk and President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic who were the first EU heads of government to announce a boycott. Tusk had this to say:
"The presence of politicians at the inauguration of the Olympics seems inappropriate," Tusk said. "I do not intend to take part."
An article in The Guardian on Saturday had this to say:
"China had hoped to use the games to highlight its economic development and growing openness. But it is increasingly proving an opportunity for critics to bash China's one-party political system, human rights abuses, treatment of minorities and tightly controlled media.
The Tibet crisis has been pushed on to the agenda of a meeting of European foreign ministers in Slovenia, with the French, who will be presiding over the EU during the Olympics, calling for a team of European officials to be dispatched to China on a fact-finding mission.
British and US diplomats were among a group of outside officials allowed to travel yesterday to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, for the first time since the crisis erupted a fortnight ago.
The EU foreign ministers are to discuss the China quandary at lunch in Slovenia today, with calls being made for a common European position."