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Letters: Beijing Olympic Boycott Debate

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Letters: Beijing Olympic Boycott Debate

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Letters: Beijing Olympic Boycott Debate

Letters: Beijing Olympic Boycott Debate

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Listeners comment on Friday's debate over the prospect of boycotting the summer's Olympic games in China. One teacher tuned in from Beijing.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

A lot of the e-mail traffic about last Friday's show dealt with a story about China.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

There were dozens of comments on a rather tense conversation about boycotting or at least partially boycotting the Chinese Olympics this summer. I spoke with Anita De Frantz, an American member of the International Olympic Committee, and David Kilgour, a Canadian human rights lawyer. Kilgour accused the IOC of over looking Chinese role in human rights abuses from Tibet to Darfur.

Mr. DAVID KILGOUR (Canadian Human Rights Lawyer): New people at the IOC don't seem to have a single scruple when it comes to dealing with totalitarian government.

Ms. ANITA DE FRANTZ (Member, International Olympic Committee): Ouch. My goodness. That's harsh words. You don't know what (unintelligible).

Mr. KILGOUR: Well, you deserve harsh words.

NORRIS: Thanks for the engaging Olympic debate, writes Gino Prodan(ph) of Euclid, Ohio. She continues, I have to hand last weeks head to head to Anita de Frantz. Her controlled demeanor made her the consonant diplomat and representative of the IOC. David Kilgour's prickly top blowing just made human rights supporters look like raving, bitter, liberal cooks(ph).

SIEGEL: Well, Dave Grass(ph)of Rochester, New York, heard the same conversation differently. I was already very concerned about China being allowed to host the Olympics with its terrible human rights records, says Grass. But after hearing Anita de Frantz, I'm even more disgusted. I can't hardly believe how smug, naive, rude and uncaring she sounded.

The Olympics could not have a worst face foot forward on behalf of the organization.

NORRIS: Finally, we have this comment from Bill Curtis(ph) who lives in Beijing. Listening to your interview with the woefully unprepared Anita de Frantz and a (unintelligible) dog, David Kilgour, left me puzzling about the distance between the IOC and human rights activists.

The gulf between the two was perfectly illustrated as one avoided confrontation, and the other tossed up the rules of civil discourse, Curtis goes on. I teach college students in Beijing and encourage them to listen to NPR. These students are not as naive as Ms. de Frantz, and certainly more civil than Mr. Kilgour. Perhaps, one day we can hear their views on this issue.

SIEGEL: We'd like to hear your views on all matters, just go to npr.org/contact.

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