Should the U.S. Boycott the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony?

Interesting debate on NPR between a human rights activist and an official of the International Olympic Committee about whether U.S. government officials, and perhaps even athletes, should boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games this August.

Listen to it HERE.

Human rights attorney David Kilgour, a former Canadian member of parliament, originally had supported a complete boycott because of China's abysmal record on human rights. But now he feels that the games are bringing greater scrutiny to that record -- in Tibet, Darfur, with the Falun Gong and more generally -- so he's instead calling for a boycott of the opening ceremony by government officials.

Now is the time to exert some pressure, he says.

Former U.S. rower and IOC member Anita DeFrantz — who missed the 1980 Moscow games after then-President Jimmy Carter pulled out the U.S. to protest the USSR invasion of Afghanistan — says such a boycott wouldn't work.

It got heated. The IOC "doesn't have a single scruple when it comes to totalitarian governments," Kilgour said.

What do you think?

- jpt

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