BASSETERRE, St. Kitts IOC president Jacques Rogge opposes a boycott of the Beijing Olympics over China's crackdown in Tibet, contending such action would only hurt "innocent athletes."
Demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet on Friday the most violent riots there in nearly two decades left at least 30 protesters dead, according to a Tibetan exile group. China ordered tourists out of Tibet's capital and troops patrolled the streets Saturday.
"We believe that the boycott doesn't solve anything," Rogge said. "On the contrary, it is penalizing innocent athletes and it is stopping the organization from something that definitely is worthwhile organizing."
On a six-day tour of the Caribbean, Rogge expressed condolences for the victims and said he hopes calm will be restored immediately. He declined to say whether the committee would change its stance if violence continues or more people are killed.
"The International Olympic Committee has consistently resisted calls for a boycott of the Olympic Games," Rogge said. He declined to comment further on Tibet during a brief news conference.
IOC vice president Thomas Bach said the committee will speak with China about human rights and condemned the crackdown, saying "every use of violence is a step backwards."
But "a boycott would be the wrong way because that will cut lines of communication," he added.
The committee issued a statement calling for an end to the violence.
"The IOC shares the world's desire for a peaceful resolution to the tensions of past days in the Tibetan region of China," it said. "We hope that calm can return to the region as quickly as possible."