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. tjr

    This is so democratic. I am going to oppose you to last drop of someone else's blood. Who cares about the olympics anyway? I know one group that does, the athletes. They are the only ones harmed by a boycott, doesn't cost Hilary or GW anything. Let the athletes partake and grow up Hilary and fight like a man, oh sorry.

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Robert W. Sparks

    Olympic boycotts only hurt the athletes who have trained their whole lives for a special moment. And it does nothing in the long run to further the cause. This absolutely proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that she doesn't have enough sense to be President.

    April 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Bryan Day

    Bush should go

    The Games must remain above politics. What will these people dismantle next? It is a wonderful institution, above all of our intercontinental arguments. Leave the games alone. There are other ways of protesting Chineese actions.

    April 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Brent Harder

    Way to look desperate Hillary! Your getting your lunch handed to you by Obama and now you look like your desperate! Nice plan, now that the frenzy of the Tibet/Chinese tensions have become top news, you step up and try to make it an "elect Hillary" issue. Did we not have a Tibet/China issue last year? What about 6 months ago when the news was the smog in China and the fact that the US Team was thinking about taking its own food? Not a hot enough poilitical button for you? Where were you before you realized the nomination was in jeopardy! Oh, and nice idea, only boycott the ceremonies!! Don't want to piss off our manufacturing base to much huh? You look so fake and shallow! And this comes from a guy who voted for Bill twice!

    April 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. sw

    I have to say it is a wrong move. By isolating a country, you will miss a chance to show its people what is the people in other country look like, what is the right way. Actually people here in US need to go to china more often, to really know about china, how many of you ever went to china? and the Tibet issue is just a joke, US is making another Osama bin Ladin in Dalai.

    April 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Sylvia

    It's good to see positive stories re Hillary Clinton for a change you guys are typically one sided in favor of Obama!

    April 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. 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 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Kenneth M.


    April 7, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Barb

    How many of you Obama supporters would be jumping up and down Cheering, if it was Obama who was in this headline? You have become so biased most of you don't make sense anymore!

    April 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Sue from Ga.

    She sways with whatever is happening at the moment. Do you notice how she only says something if she thinks it is what people want to hear? She is not Presidential Material. Once again this is the WRONG PERSON, not woman for the job. How convenient that she ctitizes everyone else, yet says nothing of her own dirty campaign. Watch out America , Howard Wolfson is on the loose. And what about Maggie Williams – she of the sub prime mortgage mess who helped duped millios in this country, while making tons of money for herself. This whole campaign is a sham.

    April 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Ric

    Democrats for Mc Cain '08!!

    April 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. HP Boston

    The more I read the postings from the Obama people the more I am glad I am no longer a member of the Dem party. The hate and disrespect they shoe EVERYONE but BO is horrendous.

    I want to congratulate every last one of them for their combined success in conniving me to leave the party and be an independent.


    April 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. lou

    People please read... BOYCOTT THE OPENING CEREMONIES.... You all know what CNN wants that headline.... all the athletes will still go and participate... is a symbolical gesture to send a message to Beijing that we are not happy about human rights and all the other shenanigans in Tibet.

    I can not believe all you morons that jump to get on her without even reading... we can always count on the Hillary haters not to miss an opportunity to get on her case even if she when she is right.

    April 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Jason - NYC

    A curiously convenient gesture. At the risk of sounding cynical, I see a few advantages to making this statement today:

    -Considering that House Speaker (D) Pelosi made the same stand about a week ago (and standing alone to my knowledge) one wonders if this is an effort by the Clintons to score some points with Ms. Pelosi and like minded inde and demo human rights advocates. Senator Clinton has chosen to do nothing regarding these abuses until it became convenient for her. Considering that to date Hillary has no history of challenging the Chinese on human rights issues but rather, if you buy her claims of White House experience, you must accept too that she was very much a party in the administration that awarded the Chinese favored nation status. This being the case (as it appears to many) it seems, Sen. Clinton – forever the opportunist, has managed to distract attention from her tale telling and such once again. In the wake of the M. Penn revelations and implications the shrewd Clinton campaign counters w/ this empty call for justice to a president who wouldn't know justice if it were written on the walls of the White House by the hand of God himself. This time, shamelessly capitalizing on the suffering of the Tibettan peoples to score points with the party and in the polls.

    In any event, obviously the president should refrain from supporting the olympics (incidentally, this will not happen). It would send a signal abroad that there remain Americans who are in fact committed to real democratic principles and not merely to markets and capitalization.

    a vote 4 change!

    April 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. San Francisco Protestors On The Golden Gate Bridge 200 Feet Up

    Correction: There are three protestors up on the cables, not 5 or 6.

    April 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. sonny

    I strongly condemn China regarding the human rights violation. But just an advise, do not boycott one of biggest sporting events on earth. Keep politics separate from sports. If USA boycott the inaugural function, they will retaliate whenever Olympics happens in US…. tit for that is bad for the sports. We must find some other way to put pressure on China. Politics should be played in a political arena and not in the sport arena.

    April 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Craig, Seattle, WA

    Your golden boy Obama is hardly a man who walks on water. OH NO!.. SUE ME FOR SAYING SOMETHING BAD ABOUT OBAMA!!.. OH NO!!..

    April 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Terri Patanus

    Go HILLARY all the way.

    Make afro sheen OBAMA (nothing sticks to him) work for the job he think he wants. It has been handed to him thus far.

    I will vote McCain if OBAMA is on the ticket.




    April 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. JJ in NY

    What the Hell ? Everybody and everything is expendable for the queen. Why not throw everybody under the bus in order to save the queen for her coronation? Compared to hillary, General Sherman's march to Atlanta was a walk in the park compared to her "win-at-all-costs" strategy.

    April 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Susan MO

    Good idea Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton 08

    April 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Jared

    Jump on the bandwagon Hillary!! What leadership!!. How desperate can you get? What will you support/condemn next?

    April 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Tucson Native

    No a thousand times no. The Olympics are for the athletes not for politicians to make points. The Olympics bring young people of the world together much better than what the grownups have done to this world. I support Hillary but not on this one.

    April 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. Keith S from Wisconsin

    Once again.....Billary shows she is not a leader by any means. Both England and France has already shown their concern with the "Games" and started boycotting already..... She must have read the newspaper....(Where she gets all her indeas) and said...hmmm...now this sounds like a good thing that already has the public aware. She has never been a leader...she has to the the polls first before she ever acts....Someone get the Clintons a bus ticket back to Ark.

    April 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Millie

    We boycotted the Olympics in 1980. What good did it do and whom did it serve?

    China has human rights violations? So does America. Can we boycott Washington?

    The Olympics are supposed to be unpolitical. Can we at least try to make them look that way?

    April 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. 2sense

    The 2008 summer games were awarded to Beijing, on July 13, 2001. The short list was published while Bill Clinton was president. Forget politics. American athletes went to Berlin in 1936 and kicked butt. Thanks Jesse Owens.

    April 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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