April 7th, 2008
03:40 PM ET
6 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. Corey, Maryland

    I agree, but why not boycott the entire olympic games? China needs to change their ways and boycotting the whole thing will really send a message.

    Obama Richardson 08!!!

    April 7, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Rob

    In PA every lie is a -1 point in polls. As you know Obama is now down by only 6-7 points compared with 20+ a few weeks ago. Wow Mrs. Clinton, how many lies have you told in the last month?

    April 7, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. clinton muehlenbrock

    Why would you deny athletes their chance at the olympics cause you don't agree with their government? Once again an example of government trying to get to involved. Stick to the real problems nafta healthcare EDUCATION.

    April 7, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Larry Dickman Des Moines, IA

    It was under President Clinton that China gained Most Favored Nation Status.

    If she is so concerned about their Human Rights, why didn't she speak up then?

    April 7, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. MP

    I wonder if Penn's firm represents China too.

    April 7, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Nicknas

    I think we should expect to hear Clinton Jump on EVERYTHING that is in the news from now on UNLESS it ias to answer for her Lies and the STILL missing information the people are looking for.

    April 7, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Ryan

    I don't know about this. I mean the Olympics are about the spirit of sport and competition that transcends politics. I don't know about using them as a political tool. The Olympics are about the atheletes, not the country itself.

    April 7, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Chuck in Oregon

    No way this is a step towards isolation, and it is something we should never do. There are political doors that we need to go through to make our position as a nation known. The olympics is not a political game and should never be used as one. This is a way for all nations to come together and hopefully gain a greater insight and understanding of who and what each is about.

    April 7, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. bessie

    Speaking of Bush, I find a lot of similarities between him and Obama. They're both young, charismatic, but have very little experience. Voting for Obama is like voting for Bush all over again. All hype and no substance!

    ** HILLARY 08 **

    April 7, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Who Cares What She Wants

    Hillary is sure the person to speak out against China now isn't she? I mean with Bill Clinton receiving so much money to his Foundation from the Chinese. Careful Hillary, they will cut business ties with Bill just like the Columbians did with him...oh I mean Penn.

    April 7, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. MELMARIE

    Well I call on everyone to boycott her campaign!

    Obama '08

    April 7, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Democrat for Unity

    While I personally do not share the belief that Hillary is the best Democratic candidate for president, this is as good call on her part and one that I support. America should take no part in supporting the genocide fueled by the Chinese government, and that means, unfortunately for our athletes, that we must boycott this Olympics and take a stand to stop the killing.

    April 7, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Sean

    Yes, let's punish the athletes. Some of these people have worked their entire lives to compete in the Olympics, and to try to make a political statement at the opening takes away from their hard work. Once again, we agree to something (allowing China to host) and then try to change the rules when things aren't "ideal". It's getting kind of old...

    April 7, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. RickytheGriff

    Oh, Hillary. Please... go home. The party has been over for hours now.

    April 7, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Black Republican, Philly PA

    Hillary needs to call on her own campaign and quit the Democratic race. The Olympics is the last thing she needs to be concerned about.

    Obama 08.

    April 7, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. Linda. Boston, MA

    I'm all for any boycott that removes Bush as American's representative.

    April 7, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. HP Boston

    So China has blackmailed the world into having the Olympics!
    Why not Cuba? The better commie country!
    We do not owe them our WHOLE country now do we?.
    Is China now our annex eastern providence?
    Hey was I made in CHINA!
    I try to boycott buying the crap from China, it is almost impossible!
    COMMUNIST CHINA THE BIG BUSINESS PARTNER OF AMERICA!
    I will boycott the Olympics.

    April 7, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. Bayou Joe

    Another dumb move from the Liberal crowd. What if they get pissed off and cash in all the T bills and sell their Corp bonds in retaliation.
    What do you do then.

    Too late to stop China. The time to do it was when you and your husband were in the Whitehouse. Now look at the mess you created.

    April 7, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. j

    Go Sen. Clinton!

    April 7, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Mikey, Scottsdale AZ

    Did she just read the papers today ? Why didn't she ask him to do this years ago when the Olympic location of China was announced ??

    Oh, might not have been fashionalble then !

    WAKE UP PEOPLE ..THIS WOMAN IS AN OPEN BOOK WITH A BAD ENDING

    April 7, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. kathleen

    Who is Hillary? Do I know her? Well, Hillary might not even
    win NY Senator, again after all of her dirty politics and lies.
    I want to see good and caring politicians and Hillary is not one of them.
    Bill legacy has been shreaded.

    Obama 2008

    April 7, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Alexandra

    I like you Hillary.
    But this is uneccessary, it will only drive up your negatives even more.
    This makes you look desperate and disingenuos.
    Obama or Clinton '08

    April 7, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Rich in Seattle

    That is way over the top. The Olympics should help bring the world together and not be used to break it apart. The athletes shouldn't be penalized for what politicians do.

    Clinton will do anything and say anything to change the subject from her campaign problems right now.

    April 7, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Jon Cruz

    The headline is not accurate. She is calling for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Olympics, not the Olympics itself.

    April 7, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Max

    Poor Hillary, she wants to divert the attention from her bad week and Penn's scandal.. Not so fast, Hillary, not so fast.. ! We stil look at your millions from criminals, your lies about the hospital in Ohio and new Iraq 'story' you created.. and your appeal to Obama's PLEDGED DELEGATES in ND ! So much to talk about.. It is too late to 'copy' from Pellosi, she is Obama's backer already..

    Poor Hillary, get out of the race !

    Max

    April 7, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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