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Should World Leaders Skip the Olympics?

The controversy over China's treatment of Tibet has had many discussing whether world leaders should skip out on the summer Olympics in Beijing. A majority of those in Germany and France say their leaders should not attend the Opening Ceremonies.

A majority of German adults—55 percent—said Chancellor Angela Merkel should not attend the Olympics, while 54 percent of French adults said President Nicolas Sarkozy should also not attend, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll and the Financial Times.

The survey was conducted among 8,748 adults in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, the United States, Italy, Japan and China.

Politicians in the United States have publicly said that President Bush should not attend the Opening Ceremonies. Among them was Senator, and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Senator Chris Dodd.

While not a majority, a sizable number of people in Italy (48%), Japan (45%), the United States (43%), Great Britain (43%) and 39 percent in Spain believed their country’s leader should not attend the Opening ceremonies.

The global protests, including those that tried to extinguish the Olympic torch during the torch relay, have had an impact: 84 percent of adults in France said they have heard a lot about the protests as did 51 percent in Germany, 46 percent in China, 44 percent in Great Britain and 41 percent in the United States.

Asked whether they believed Tibet should be under Chinese rule, 75 percent of adults in Italy said no, followed by 74 percent in Germany, 69 percent in Japan, 67 percent in France, 64 percent in Spain, 59 percent in the United States, and 53 percent in Great Britain.

Human rights concerns in China has also raised flags, with 85 percent of adults in Italy saying human rights should be a central part of their country’s foreign policy, followed by Germany with 84 percent, 80 percent by France, 77 percent by Spain and 72 percent by the United States.