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. HILLARY!

    THANKS CNN! Finally, I can get back to work! :)

    April 7, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Shirley, Silicon Valley, CA

    Another DISGRACEFUL move by Clinton, making a non-political event political for her own benefit!

    Shame on you, Hillary! American people will kick you out!

    April 7, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Jones in Ohio

    HIllary and Bill double faces—cheap attempts to redirect attentions on Tax Returns, Library donors, Sniper Misspoke and NAFTA. You deceived Ohioans for votes, now you're using dark political tricks to deceive Pennsylvanians. Pennsyvanians say no to Supporters of NAFTA.

    April 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Edgar

    Obama/Richardson = to Jimmy Carter Presidency!! Nuff said! Vote for Hillary or McCain especially if he picks Condi!!!

    April 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Kenneth M.

    Can't we disagree with Clinton without bashing her. I am fo Obama but I dont hate Clinton. Goodness!

    April 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Mario

    I hope Sen. Obama joins Sen. Clinton in condemning the inhumane and barbaric human rights practices of the Chinese government.

    April 7, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Bennoch

    I agree! I don't believe we should boycott completely/punish our athletes, but we should not condone China's action in Tibet by sending our Head of State to the Games. Bush should stay home in protest of China's horrendous human rights abuses.

    April 7, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Arrthur Elmer

    Bush is too much of a China supporter for him to forgo the opening ceremonies for Olimpics. If it was a small nation that he did not need to shore up his actions against North Korea he would not go to the opening ceremonies.
    Bush will not even talk to Cuba and yet China's humans rights are ten times worse than Cuba's.
    Bush has no leadership abilities or the guts to go against a nation that is as big or bigger than the USA.

    April 7, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. I Used To Love her, PA

    Change the news cycle...big surprise, but I think the real story we all want to hear about is this Penn guy.

    April 7, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Man-Sun Sy

    My wife and I had donated hundreds of dollars to Senator Clinton. This is the last draw. I will not give Senator Clinton another penny!!!!!. This is a shameless political move.

    April 7, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Sarah

    Hillary is the only one with the courage to take a stand on this outrage. While all the other candidates cowar and say nothing to try and persuade China to stop their violence against Tibet Hillary speaks out for what is right! She will be one of the greates Presidents the United States has had!

    Hillary 08!!

    April 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. B Schrider

    It is WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! To protest against China using the Olympics as a crutch to do so. We all know China sucks when it comes to human rights. We all knew the former Soviet Union had issues during the Cold War. We could probably find fault with numerous governments over the course of the Olympics history for which we could have protested. There are always people at any given time ready to protest about a million different issues. These young athletes have trained their entire lives for this one moment. This is THEIR moment. It has always been and ALWAYS should be the spirit of the Olympics when we all put our differences aside and come together to compete in these games celebrating these young athletes. It is WRONG for Clinton to call for our President to boycott the opening ceremony and it is wrong for the protestors to be encouraged to continue. The Olympics is not about politics or government policy. It is about young people training for THEIR moment. HANDS OFF!!

    April 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Nope...

    The person who wrote a blog as "Hillary 08" is obviously part of Hillary's campaign team. There is no other explanation for those "facts". Hillary is already going down in flames. She cannot win unless Obama withdraws. Since he is ahead in popular vote, in delegates, in the number of states won, and soon to be ahead in superdelegates it is unlikely he will withdraw.

    As for the China Syndrome. Leave the Olympics alone. It is a venue for nations' atheletes to compete in pure physical contests. Let's figure out other ways to pressure China into behaving than turning this into a political contest that will do nothing but harm amateur athelete's chances to compete.

    April 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Yie Lee

    Tibet is a part of China just like Alabama is a part of the United States. China is acting to prevent a civil war from happening, so it is ignorant to boycott anything.

    April 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. jeff

    Lucas,
    Don't be so naive; there's as much credibility in this stance as in her Bosnia, nafta, hospital....stories/positions. She represents firms who are virtually owned by the chinese. This is a desperate diversionary tactic.
    Nothing more

    April 7, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. bobo

    where was Billary in the 90's when her husband...and presumably her since she touts all that experience...gave China most favored trading nation status?

    April 7, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Will

    On what planet is George W. Bush "charismatic?"

    April 7, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. NotALemming

    Good for you, Hillary!

    At least someone has the stones to stand up to China. It's a bit ironic that it's a woman. God knows, Bush and Obama would be practically tripping over each other to appease the Chinese....

    April 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. joseph

    bessie if you think bush is young you must be living on a different planet or something.

    April 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Women 4 Obama

    This latest angry rant must be a result of one of Mark Penn's latest research POLL that says being anti-China will when you votes at the moment.

    April 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. Ian the Human Bein'

    Is she genuine about this? Why is she just NOW bringing it up? I'm starting to have less, and less faith in this woman. Why is everything a publicity stunt with her?

    Yes, I agree something needs to be done about human rights in China. I just feel that Senator Clinton has alterior motives.

    April 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. M.S. Indiana

    m hyst ot remind you, when Bill was elected, he was young, could make good speeches (tax returns back that one up to too), nor did he have much experience....

    Now tell us what experience do Hillary have. other then pointing fingers ??

    But HC is right on Bush boycotting the Olympics, justt a way to get away from the Penn talk, get donor list the pregnant woman who died and so on...

    April 7, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. ForObama

    I'd like to see Obama and McCain call on Bush to not particpate in the Opening Ceremony, as well. A number of world leaders are doing just that, and if we join with the rest of the world in not sending our leader, it will send a message, in my opinion. Their absence will speak volumes. If Bush attends the Opening Ceremony, it would be a sign of solidarity with the Chinese.

    April 7, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Pon Mao

    Clinton just angered all the Chinese donors to her campaign! Hey we want our money back !!!

    April 7, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Lenore Z.

    Not going to vote for you, Hillary, but you finally made a good call. It's time we advocate for Tibet and Darfur.

    April 7, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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