U.S. President George Bush met Sunday with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympic games.  VOA's Paula Wolfson reports the session took place a few hours after Mr. Bush attended church services in Beijing.

President Bush said prior to his arrival in China that he planned to take up human rights and other sensitive issues in private with Hu Jintao.

But his public comments to reporters at the start of the meeting focused largely on another topic - the deadly knife attack Saturday on an American couple and their Chinese tour guide.

When President Hu offered his condolences, Mr. Bush responded with words of thanks.

"I thank you for your expressions of sympathy and the ambassador informs me that your government has been very attentive and very sympathetic and I appreciate that a lot," he said.

The incident occurred at the Drum Tower, a popular tourist spot in Beijing.   A lone assailant stabbed the parents of a former Olympic women's volleyball star, who is also the wife of the current US men's volleyball coach.  Her father died and her mother remains in grave condition.

The Chinese man who attacked the couple and their guide committed suicide, and the motive for the incident is not known.  President Hu promised a full investigation.  

The Chinese leader said his government takes the matter very seriously.  He told President Bush law enforcement authorities are pursuing the case in accordance with Chinese law.

The two met just a few hours after President Bush attended Sunday morning services at a government-approved church in Beijing

As he emerged from the church with members of his family, he made clear he believes faith has a place in China.

"You know, it just goes to show that God is universal, and God is love, and no state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion," said Mr. Bush.

The president has also made clear he has been having a grand time at the Olympics - cheering on Team USA at events ranging from beach volleyball to basketball.

He was at the swimming venue Sunday when American swimmer Michael Phelps won his first gold medal of the games with a victory in the 400 meter individual medley.

Mr. Bush returns to Washington on Monday.