The controversy of the Olympics has to do with China's poor human rights record at home and abroad. China has been criticized for their relationship with the government of Sudan, which has been criticized for its activities in the Darfur region. Earlier this year President Bush said he would attend because they're a sporting event and not a political one. The German Chancellor plans to stay away and France's President has suggested France's level of participation in the opening ceremonies rests on China's ability to resolve the situation in Tibet. Canada's Prime Minister has said he won't attend, a decision which he said has little to do with human rights. This historian says controversy in the Olympics is nothing new, but boycotting the opening ceremonies is new. The only precedent is President Jimmy Carter's boycott after the Soviets declared war in Afghanistan. Many believe boycotts hurt athletes more than the host nation. The historian also opposes Olympic boycotts. he believes the Olympics can be an opportunity to put China's human rights in the limelight, but it could also backfire.

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