April 7th, 2008
03:40 PM ET
10 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. Marc

    If you guys think Senator Clinton shouldn't be running, I suggest you forfeit your vote in the GE as you're trying to disenfranchise ME and not giving ME a vote. If you're candidate is worth his salt, he'll be able to handle some competition. That said, Obama's been pretty quiet lately... why doesn't he speak out about this issue?

    April 7, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. honkey white guy from cali

    I hope for Clinton sake the idiots climbing the golden gate are not part of her campaign as it seems lately it is completely falling apart!!!

    Go Obama 08

    April 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. lazaro

    I think that United States should keep away from this issue .We have a lot of problemas at home that we are even able to solve,how are we going to mess around with this issue that may bring us a lot of serious problmes with China in the future.We had supported terrible dictatorships all over the world like :Suharto in Indonesia,Pinochet in Chile,OmarBongo in Gabon,and many more ,which have been really cruel with their own people. Are we jealous of the development of this communist country???Just like we were with the USSR!!Why attacking China now and never before????This could bring to a dangerous world that will NOt be easy to win!!

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Dominic Shebazzari

    There you got Hillary find a way to spin your lies and tricks. Next, thing we'll know is she'll call Barrack to challenge him to Boycott the olympics as well and say he was the reason her lies and tax returns were off! Spin, Spin, Spin, that's all Billary has to offer and you can bet her mini-surrogates will follow her Bad or Good!

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. Trish - PA

    Wow this is horrible. Whenever I think that Hillary can't stoop any lower, down she goes. Why would you want to deny the hundreds of athletes, who have been working so hard for four years, the chance to realize their dream? The Olympics should not be a place for politics. Does she really think this makes her look good? First she tries to inject religion into politics, then race, then gender. Now this. Plus she lies and wants to bring her lying disgrace of a husband back into the white house. And you Clinton supporters continue to put such importance on what someone's paster says, a pastor who is retired and not affiliated with the the campaign at all, when there sits good old Bill Clinton, with his deplorable record full of impleachment proceedings, disembarment, lies and scandal, weaseling his way back into the White House he was thrown out of. Dang!

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Jacqueline Samms

    Why punish the atheletes? If we boycott, it should be the products that come in the US from China. I will not buy anything else from China. I am sure there are other ways instead of bringing politics into the olympics. Hillary, shame on you! These atheletes have trained their hearts out. Find another way!

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Oh! The Irony

    Clinton's late. Barack already said this.

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. CoolFaatAs-

    Senator Clinton!

    Yes, we can!

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Angela from Arkansas

    I loved the clintons....I really did. I still believe Clinton was a great president who did a great del to help the country especially financially. Unfortunately, his legacy is being tarnished. It will be interesting to see the attendance numbers to his presidential library post primary compared to the previous ones. I never would have considered Hillary if it hadn't been for Bill, but they both have screwed that up...All I have to say is this:

    Dont call a person who is sleep deprived and mistakes a poem for sniper shots at 3AM... She may very well initiate missile strikes to begin WWIII!!! The excuse of being sleep deprived will not work. Aside from that, I agree boycott China. Show them that even though they have our purse, their not forcing us to make unethical decisions.

    Anyone but Hillary '08

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. MP-Pennsylvania








    NOTHING !!!!!!!!!!

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Tim

    Perhaps she should just boycott it herself.

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. kathy

    In the words of HIllary herself – "shame on you" Hillary Clinton "shame on you"

    Lets face it – if not boycotting was advantageous to her at the moment, she'd be on that side of the fence. whichever the way the wind blows, you'll find Hillary.

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. dave

    let's up the ante, for Mccain, obama and Pres Bush....
    which is, have the US re-establish diplomatic relations with the free Republic of China on Taiwan (formosa).... if the bloody tyrants
    in Peking (politically correct Beijing) do not like, let them go to hell... the Republic of China onTaiwan is a democratic peaceful nation,
    with free elections, a free judiciary, freedom of press and religion,
    and which does NOT harvest the organs of executed prisoners....
    so, America, we are a free nation born in liberty, we should extend the hand of diplomatic recognition to the free Republic of China on Taiwan... let us as a nation correct the terrible mistake that Nixon made when he broke relations with Taiwan, and if the bloody so called PEoples Republic of China does not like it, let them go to hell... they can keep all their toxicand poisonous exports made with slave labor....

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Trang, Fremont, CA

    I don't think closing the door will help the problem. Olympics is the event that all countries come together.

    This maybe the opportunities for other countries to come in China, to learn more about the situation rather than what just reported on the news, and maybe raise that issue w/ China.

    But I think we should open the channel and not close the channel.

    Of course, one can always choose not to buy products from China as a way to affect them financially, but it's better to engage than not talking.

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Kevin

    Folks. I'm not a Clinton supporter here, and frankly I'm not sure how I feel about her call for a symbolic boycott of the opening ceremonies (but I think I agree with her. Just imagine if we were to such open confrontations with people living in our territories.)

    However, please stick to the facts – this won't punish the athletes – it's not a call to boycott the whole thing as we did earlier (Soviet Union in the 80s?).

    I hate seeing people tearing others down when they've got the facts wrong.

    April 7, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. David Kulp

    I think it will only punish our own athletes

    April 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Dani

    Couldn't handle the truth, I see Cnn.

    April 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Chazzo

    i'd rather elect my feces than hillary clinton.

    April 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Pon Mao

    People need to get real, it is not a favor to China that Bush attend the opening ceremony, it is Chinese politeness to even invite Bush!

    Actually Boycott is not really going to hurt China, they can actually save the money needed "protecting the world leaders" , to better use, such as helping poor people ..

    April 7, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Gilbert

    I've had it enough! America has done too many things to help other countries in the past and present. Why don't other countires do the pressure on China about its own issues????

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Aliou FL

    I will start a boycott of my own. Boycott all products made in china. Pay off all our T-Bills from china, and get out of china. I will put a no fly zone on china so their planes can't come here and we don't go there. I will put a sanction of no travel to china so anyone who has traveled to china can't come or live in America. That is the kind of boycott that the chinese may be tempted to respond to. Not a gulibile campaign boycott of their charity to the rest of the world which is the olympics.

    Remember that they pay for most of the cost of this and get little pay back. The athletes are the ones gaining form any thing in the games. He! Hill, do you have a clue, or don't you just care? is it cheaper to your bottom line to boycott the games or the products from china? Just musing.

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Skeptic

    This woman is out of her mind!

    The athletes have been training hard for years in order to get to the point they're at just to QUALIFY for the Olympic games, yet Hillary seems to think it's alright to take away everyone's dreams and trivialize their hard work?

    THAT'S a violation of Human Rights too, just not the physical kind.

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Bill K

    The athetees of our country and the world should not be punished for this.
    Let them compete.

    Let our governments solve other problems.

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. vjh

    I disagree with HRC. The Olympics is a time to bring Countries together (athletes, world leaders, fans) despite our differences (cultural, political, etc.) This event is for the athletes, through their blood,sweat and tears, have acheived greatness and it is their dream to represent their Country, to participate and compete, what about their human rights? China does need to address and correct it's Human Rights policies, however, this is not the appropriate place. Politics should not be a part of the mix.

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. CC

    Dear Bessie

    "They're both young, charismatic, but have very little experience"

    I used to wonder that Hillary supporters must be smoking something to believe her rhetoric. Thank you for removing that doubt.

    Now I know they are high on dope, just like the one Bush used to smoke.

    PS: Seriously? You find Bush charismatic? Does your dream rat pack include Dick Cheney as well?

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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