Chinese officials Thursday launched Beijing's formal bid to host the 2000 Olympics and brushed off concern it might be derailed by human rights issues, saying politics would not influence the International Olympic Committee.

The bid was announced by Chinese Olympic Committee President He Zhenliang and Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong, who also took the opportunity to defend strongly the government's violent crackdown in June 1989 on pro-democracy demonstrators."We have officially set up a committee to plan our bid, and when the time is appropriate we will submit an official application to the International Olympic Committee," Chen said at a news briefing.