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House members urge Bush to skip Olympics

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  • Some U.S. House members urge President Bush to skip Olympics
  • Lawmakers concerned with China's record on human rights
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier called on Bush to boycott Olympic opener
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(CNN) -- Fifteen U.S. House members asked President Bush Tuesday not to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing to protest China's human rights records.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Bush should boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies in China.

The call follows comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who earlier said Bush should boycott the August 8 opening ceremony.

President Bush has said he intends to meet China's president during a trip to see the Olympics. Bush didn't elaborate on what issues he might bring up, but his administration has accused China, a major U.S. trade partner, of human rights abuses.

In a letter, the House members -- 14 Democrats and one Republican -- pointed to China's crackdown on anti-government protesters in Tibet. They urged the president to "reconsider" his decision. Video Watch why Pelosi wants Bush to boycott »

"It would be clearly inappropriate for you to attend the Olympic Games in China, given the increasingly repressive nature of that country's government," the letter said. "The Olympic Games are the most honorable, venerated, and prestigious international sporting events in the world. Your attendance at these Games will only serve to enhance China's honor and prestige as the host country of the Olympics."

A spokesman for Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California who led the group, said the congresswoman had earlier urged for a boycott of the Games.

The letter does not call for a boycott, but asks instead for the president to follow in the footsteps of other world leaders.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he may skip the opening ceremony. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will skip the Olympic Games. Britain's Prince Charles said in January he has "no plans to attend the ceremony.


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang has said that the Olympic Games should not be politicized.

"We hope to enhance mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation with other peoples through the Games," Qin said in a statement on the ministry's Web site. "We must follow the purpose of the Olympics and not politicize the games." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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