White House Says Olympics Are About Athletes, Not Politics

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The White House says China's crackdown in Tibet is not cause for President Bush to cancel his attendance at the Beijing Olympics.

Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said Thursday that Bush's position is that "this should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics."

She said Bush, in accepting the invitation last year from Chinese President Hu Jintao to attend the Olympics, told him that the games would "shine a spotlight on all things Chinese." Perino said "that's not necessarily a bad thing."

Bush agreed to go to the Olympics during a meeting with Hu in Australia last September during the Asia Pacific Economic Council meeting. A White House spokesman said at the time that Bush was going to the games for the sports and not for any political statement.

Protests against Chinese rule in Tibet have drawn a harsh response from Beijing. Authorities say 325 people have been injured and 16 people died.