April 7th, 2008
03:40 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton calls on Bush to boycott Olympics

 Clinton is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Clinton is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

In a statement released by her campaign Monday, the New York senator pointed to the recent protests in Tibet and the Chinese government’s failure to pressure the government of Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.

“These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China,” said Clinton. “At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government.”

Last month, Clinton – who has long advocated a tougher approach toward the Chinese government – declined to call for a U.S. boycott of the Olympic Games, but called for greater pressure leading up to the summer event in Beijing.

"I think that what's happening in Tibet is deeply troubling, and this is a pattern of the Chinese government with respect to their treatment of Tibet,” she said at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. “I don't think we should wait until the Olympics to make sure that our views are known."

Barack Obama has said he is torn in his views on the issue.

"I'm of two minds about this,” said the Illinois senator in a CBS interview last week. “On the one hand, I think that what's happened in Tibet, China's support of the Sudanese government in Darfur, is a real problem.”

But, he added: “I'm hesitant to make the Olympics a site of political protest because I think it's partly about bringing the world together."

Last summer, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson – then a Democratic presidential candidate - said the United States should boycott the Olympics entirely if China did not take a more active role in ending the conflict in Darfur.

“We need China,” Richardson said at the June 3 CNN presidential primary debate, “which has enormous leverage over Darfur. If the Chinese don’t want to do this, we say to them, maybe we won’t go to the Olympics.”

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd disagreed with that approach. “I don’t think (boycotting) gets you there. It will delay the kind of influence and support China should support,” Dodd responded.

(Full campaign statement below):

Statement by Hillary Clinton on Olympics

The violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur are opportunities for Presidential leadership. These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China. At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government.

I encourage the Chinese to take advantage of this moment as an opportunity to live up to universal human aspirations of respect for human rights and unity, ideals that the Olympic games have come to represent.

Americans will stand strong in support of freedom of religious and political expression and human rights. Americans will also stand strong and root for the success of American athletes who have worked hard and earned the right to compete in the Olympic Games of 2008.


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (484 Responses)
  1. EAM

    Former President Bill Clinton "...in 1993...initially, he pledged to be far tougher on China's human-rights violations than President George Bush (Sr.) was. He promised that free-trade accords would be accompanied by international agreements on the environment and labor rights.

    But on each of these issues, Clinton altered his course. On China, he embraced Bush's policy of (depending on your point of view) accommodation or engagement. This angered human-rights advocates. On trade, open markets have taken priority over negotiating social protections."

    Chip off the old block...remember America..."Money makes the world go round." We are the first to protest when it affects our pockets." God Bless America and our Freedoms which lots of us take for granted and don't value!

    April 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Teddy

    Please do a search on the Tibet Serfs on Google or Yahoo or any other search engines. You will get a lot of information about Tibet Serfs who were miserable slaves. The Chinese communists (including some Tibet communists) started reforms in Tibet in 1950s and of course, Dalai Lama and other slave owners did not like the reform. So they uprose, but failed. They were forced to flee the country. Please tell me how many of those serfs or slaves will welcome Dalai Lama and his followers back?

    April 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Adam

    Didn't she just say during the YouTube debates a while back that she thought that the United States had no business in Darfur???

    But now all of a sudden she wants to tell everyone else to boycott the Olympics because China won't do anything?

    Why don't you stop flip-flopping and trying to get votes. We already know you don't give a hoot about Darfur.

    Obama '08!!

    April 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. jobblyman

    Don't the ObamaBOTS understand that without Hillary supporters he will NEVER win. It's such a waste.

    Wake up America! Don't you remember what happened last time we voted an empty suit for President??

    April 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Steve

    Boycott of Olympic games is the wrong thing to do unless you want other countries to boycott USA the next time we have the Olympics. This is sports not politics.

    April 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. jp

    Wow, after consulting the tea leaves and public opinion, she makes a decision. How Hilary is that! It's time to send these hillbillies back to Arkansas. $109 million buys a lot of grits.

    April 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Jay Graham, Dallas, TX

    I agree! Bush should send a strong signal to China to Free Tibet. Chinese should be taught a lesson. Hillary is the onle strong leader who can do that.

    April 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Manny S.

    Ms. Clinton's expression of her opinion towards the Olympics is very commendable but that doesn't necessarily mean she's correct.
    The idea must be viewed in different perspectives. The problem in Tibet could be a violation of human rights that can be addressed diplomatically other than boycotting the Olympics.

    One could just imagine the pain of preparation for the Olympics of the U.S. athletes. And if I were one of them I would feel very remorseful and frustrated if the Bush administration will succumb to her dictates.

    April 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. enoch needles

    Maybe if Hillary had an effective jump shot she'd be more sensitive to the needs of athletes.

    April 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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