Tutu urges leaders to miss Olympic Games opening

Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged world leaders on Sunday to stay away from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in August.

"The leaders of the free world, for goodness sake, don't attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games until it is quite clear that they (the Chinese) mean business and that they will stop the violence against the Tibetans," Tutu said at a Cape Town ceremony for an alternative "Tibetan" Olympic torch.

South Africa's Nobel Peace laureate lit a "Tibetan" Olympic torch, which was kindled in Delhi on January 30 and will travel to cities on five continents before arriving in May back in Dharamsala, India, where Tibet's parliament-in-exile is based.

Protesters have followed the official Olympic flame as it travelled around the world and highlighted China's human rights record in Tibet ahead of the Games starting on Aug. 8.

"Let us make China know this is a moral universe," Tutu said.

"We must tell them 'watch out' because there is no way in which wrong will prevail forever. There is no way that injustice will prevail forever. We must tell all those oppressors, let us whisper in the ear of (Zimbabwean President Robert) Mugabe 'you have already lost'," he said to applause.

Zimbabwe has been criticised for failing to release the results of a March 29 presidential election, which the opposition says it won.

Asked about China's announcement of planned talks with aides of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Tutu said he hoped they would be "meaningful negotiations".

"We pray that the Chinese will know that it is in their best interests to do that," he told Reuters. Tutu is a close friend of the Dalai Lama.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Caroline Drees and Robert Woodward)

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

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