European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering has called on athletes taking part in the Beijing Olympics to protest against the human rights situation in Tibet. In an article in German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday, the centre-right politician said that love of sports should not be an excuse to overlook human rights issues. I would like to encourage the athletes, men and women, to look at things as they are, and not to turn away. Each athlete can, in their own way, give a signal," he wrote, with the international sporting event due to start on Friday in the Chinese capital. "It is our duty not to forget the people of Tibet, who are fighting for their cultural survival."
Mr Poettering's comments come amid general political uproar in Germany over internet censorship for foreign media after Chinese authorities reneged on previous promises to allow unrestricted internet access to the thousands of journalists covering the Games. "I do not understand why the Chinese government once again limited internet access and sparked international scepticism," German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Der Spiegel news magazine.The International Olympic Committee has also come under pressure in the row, accused of cutting a deal on internet access with the Chinese government.