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. Right on

    I'm an Obama supporter, but I really respect Hillary for this. Its the first thing she's done in months that garner my admiration–by boycotting the ceremony the U.S. president would be sending a strong message about what we strongly value: human rights.

    April 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. vince - phoenix

    Well... I have to agree with her on that one...

    America has to regain the moral high ground we were once so very proud of.

    April 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Jacob

    Aw come on, who give her the right to prevent our athletes from attending the opening? The opening might be the most memorable event for some of them athletes if they could not win gold medals. So just let them come to the ceremony, compete, and enjoy! Olympics is a SPORTS game, not a political one!

    April 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. China Olympic

    Why olympic games should relate to politics? It is little sick. This is the reason Tibet played a role in that. Come on, polictitian can't interfere sports!

    April 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. HP Boston

    HILLARY! April 7th, 2008 2:28 pm ET

    Ever notice if you bash Hillary your comments stick, if you make intelligent points on BO's weaknesses, you get moderated off……Nice……
    -----------------------–
    Yes it is the same on first read too.
    The only thing the media is pushing is Obama, if Hillary said she would VOTE for BO they would spew hate on that too.

    April 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. John from Tucson

    If the athletes would like to take a stand and make a statement by boycotting any part of the olympic games I'd support it 100%. But to have the government step in and make a decision that will affect the hard work and dedication to their sports that these young athletes have would be a human rights issue all it's own. Let the United States olympic team make their own decision.

    April 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. dick delson

    The Chinese have violated human rights from the day the Communists seized control. They NEVER should have been awarded the Olympics. But, inasmuch as they have, we should not punish our athletes for the sins and stupidity of others.

    April 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. George

    Are you kidding me??

    I guess she believes everyone has forgotten that it was her husband that advanced the "engagement" policy with China that dropped all trade leverage we had. At the time, those opposed stated it was the wrong thing to do, because it lets Chinas unfair labor practices and human rights abuses go on.

    This is her family's mess.

    April 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Toby A

    LOL LOL LOL LOL
    ANYONE WONDER WHY THIS COMES AFTER THE NEWS OF HER TOP ADVISER MESSING THINGS UP> SHE PLAYING THE MEDIA WELL TO DIVERT ATTANTION FROM A POTENTAILLY DAMAGING SITUATION AND SHE THINKS WE ARE CHILDREN.

    SHE SHOULD ADDRESS WHY HER 16 YEAR FAMILY POLITICAL ADVISER WOULD GO AGAINST EVERY THING SHE "CLAIMS" SHE IS AGAINST

    HILLARY: YOUR LIES ARE CATCHING UP TO YOU AND FAST.. U MIGHT NOT BE EVEN VIALBLE FOR A VICE PRES.. WHEN THE DUST SETTLES

    April 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Paul Gunther

    I'm not typically a Bush supporter, but I back him on this. These atheletes train for years for this, it's their dream, and no part of the experience should be stripped from them for the sake of a political statement. The best way to make a statement is to support our atheletes 100%, send them to the games, and hope they dominate.

    April 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. mep

    Mrs. Clinton, since Bush sold himself & this country to China, the chinese will be telling him what to do so please don't waste your breath – there are other issues you should be addressing.

    April 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. joan skipper

    as usual obama stays on the fence, he doesn't have the guts to come out and say anything. At least Hillary is taking a stand on what she believes in which is more than he will do. Go ahead and vote to get him nominated, the country will go from bad to worse and become more devisive than ever. GO HILLARY!!!

    April 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Pon Mao

    What about Free IRAQ?

    April 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. On-Warii J. Fuller

    The Olympics should not be political. The games should be
    about 'friendly' competition – a country's best athletes against
    another country's best athletes. However.....in the case of
    the Beijing Olympics, I think a boycott by the American Olympic
    Team would not be out of line. Nor do I feel that President
    Bush should go to Beijing. The Chinese people are paying a
    prince that even the International Olympic Committee didn't
    figure on. And there is no way the Chinese can turn what they've
    done around to make a difference at this point. I'm sorry,
    American Athletes, but staying home is the best choice.

    April 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. JonRoss

    This is the same Clinton who approved the sale of US secret technology to the Chinese after receiving campaign contributions from the Chinese military.

    April 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. JNJoe

    Larry Dickman Des Moines, IA

    She did... were you living under a rock in the 90's?

    April 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Debra2

    Ever heard about a female dictator? I guess that you havn`t depending on differences in male and female mentalities. End the male chauvinism in the White House.

    April 7, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Tom

    Cindy,

    Way to speak with vagueness and in platitudes! Obama would be proud!

    I don't see China as a nose on our face – more as a genitalia – required to continue our existence, but not something we want to see in the mirror everyday.

    April 7, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. jimmy velman

    CHINA DOES NOT AND WILL NEVER HAVE US OVER A BARREL.
    THEY MAY HAVE LOANED US BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO HELP US THRU A BAD ECONOMY, BUT HAVE RESOURCES MANY MORE TRILLIONS THAN WE OWE. BOYCOTTING THE OLYMPICS WILL ONLY CAUSE ANIMOSITY. THE OLYMPICS SHOULD NOT BECOME
    A POLITICAL PAWN.
    WHILE WE ARE ALL DEBATING POLITICS. ALL THE NATIONS ARE IGNORING AFRICA AND ITS MOUNTINGPROBLEMS.
    I SIMPLY HATE THE FACT THAT SOMALIAN PIRATES CONTINUE
    ATTACKING AND CAPTURING SHIPS ALONG THEIR COAST AND GETTING RANSOM MONEY AND GETTING AWAY WITH IT. THE INCIDENTS ARE INCREASING.. IT IS A DEPLORABLE TRAVESTY
    ON INTERNATIONAL LAWS AND THE FREEDOM TO SAIL THE SEAS SAFELY.. THE FRENCH NOW ARE TAKING ACTION (IF BELATEDLY) WHEN SOME OF ITS CITIZENS WERE CAPTURED BY PIRATES. NATO SEEMS TO TURN A DEAF EAR AND BLIND SIGHT TO THE PROBLEM. SOMALIA AND ITS PIRATES HAVE THE NATIONS
    HAMSTRUNG?

    April 7, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Pon Mao

    Clinton's cheap shot ! Another attempt by her campaign to divert attention to her negative Campaign!

    Hey Clinton, all the Chinese donors to your campaign are demanding their money back !!!

    April 7, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. bILL

    Ever willing to make the tough foreign policy decisions. We shouldn't eat fortune cookies either!

    April 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Nick

    Once again, Hillary takes a position while Obama just hedges in the wing.

    If he can't make the tough calls now, what makes you think he will be able to in the Oval Office?

    April 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. QPH

    Hi, Hillary, I used to support you. But I have changed my mind. You will loose all the votes from American Chinese. Even Bush is better than you!

    Do you understand the sprit of Olympic?

    Do you know what is happened in Tibet?

    Do you know the history of Tibet?

    We will boycott your compain!

    April 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Jen DFW

    clintons campaign has not done anymore negatives then obama. but just like when bush lied to america it was quickly covered up and attention was brought to some other issue. that is the same thing happening with Obama. His campaign has been really negative too but if you want the truths you should research the two. Obamas change campaign is just talk. He basically has the same plans as CLINTON so how much change can that be. The only difference is she speaks for herself and he speaks for all the old men helping to run this campaign that wished they could get the response that Obama is getting......READ betweem the lines folks. She is much more experienced and will make CHANGE happen.

    April 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. Bond_Dallas

    She needs to worry about Obama. Bush is way out of her league at this point. She can't control her campaign, she can't pay her bills, she is pushing healthcare and she hasn't paid healthcare bill for her employees. Laughable, and there are still people trying to vote for her. How blind can they be.

    April 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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