Bush: Olympic Boycott Would Be 'Affront' to Chinese People

Prez says he'll tackle human rights in Beijing
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2008 11:29 AM CDT
U.S. President George W. Bush, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda after a press conference at the G-8 summit on Sunday, July 6, 2008 in the lakeside resort of Toyako, Japan.    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – President Bush today defended his decision not to boycott the Beijing Olympics next month, saying skipping “would be an affront to the Chinese people" that would make it difficult "to speak more frankly with the Chinese leadership.” Speaking ahead of tomorrow's G8 meeting in Japan, Bush said he would address concerns over religious freedom and human rights with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Games.

Bush also told CNN he was “looking forward to cheering the US athletes” and for them “to see their president waving that flag.” He addressed reporters alongside Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda, who will also forgo a boycott despite expressed concerns about human rights. Some European leaders have vowed to boycott.