April 7th, 2008
03:40 PM ET
7 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. iden Ford

    Why should the athletes suffer?????
    Carter tried to boycott and he ruined the careers of many athletes.
    Courage in the face of adversity, I thought this was something Hillary embodied.
    McCain in a LANDSLIDE!!

    April 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. John

    Some people’s fascination with and support of Hilary Clinton, despite all her lies and “mis-spoke” incidents, is quite mystifying, bordering on blind acceptance. This is not about gender or some media conspiracy as some people try to make it out to be, but rather, it is about trust and credibility, and the scarcity of truth in Hilary’s statements.

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

    First of all, how arrogant of any American to think that a country will change its national policies because another world leader does not show up to the Olympic games opening! Yes, we should get involved, but Bush's appearance or non-appearance is irrelevant.

    April 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. ken

    unfortunately, the bush administration has made it impossible for us to take the moral high ground on human rights anymore. a country that snatches people off the street and sends them to third world countries for torture and incarcerates people at gitmo with no trials, really doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to preaching human rights.

    April 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Lana

    Some posters seemed to have missed the part that says Bush should boycott the OPENING of the Olympics. That makes sense to me. The opening is all about pagentry and celebration, and certainly there is nothing to celebrate in China's human rights policy. Hillary Clinton traveled to Beijing when she was First Lady to work on human rights. That was leading by example. Obama is still figuring out out he feel about this. It's been tossed around for over a month now–what is he waiting for? That doesn't sound like leadership to me.

    Boycott the opening and let the athletes show their talents. Perhaps on the playing field we can come together.

    April 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. shawn

    anything to grab headlines.... so sad..it's over..she lose.

    April 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Kel

    Seriously, though, Billary?

    Where to start? Too little. Too late. Too lame. Be original. That's been done already, let's not make an issue out of it.

    Obama 08!

    April 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. nate

    Sounds like somebody who's badly behind wants some attention...Boy I wish Bush would say that publicly in response.

    April 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Good

    Good call Hillary. What does Bush know about the Games. And BTW, I need a ticket to the Opening Ceremony and this may be my chance.

    April 7, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Bond_Dallas

    Olympics should not be boycotted,,, there are athletes who have waited 4 years for this moment. They are at their peak, don't deny them this.

    The people that should be punished are the IOC members for awarded communist china these games. The olympics are a symbol of world unity. All countries athletes, even enemies, come together in friendly sports contests.

    April 7, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. Bennet

    Absolutely agree that Bush should not be in attendance at the Olympic ceremonies. The leaders of most major Countries in Europe will not be in attendance, and as the so-called proclaimers of Democracy, it would be incredibly hypocritical of Bush to attend the games.

    As for the athletes themselves, you need to let them participate. This issue needs to be dealt with, but is not as drastic as the circumstances which caused the boycott of the games in Germany all those years ago. Plus, it would result in the isolationistic outcome which is absolutely not desired.

    April 7, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. 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 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Debra2

    It´s time to change the tough exaggerated masculinity in the White House. It´s time to elect a female as President.

    April 7, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Anya

    Need to save the country. President can not be conservation(like BUSH) or President can not be liberal (Like Obama).

    The president has to be moderate.
    Either Clinton or McCain.

    April 7, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. YeahBaby

    Yeah boycott the Olympics. We should ban our athletes from going to the Games. That'd send a REAL message that we are serious. Our Dream Team would turn in a nightmarish performance anyway. Let the Chinese have their own party. We stay home and watch our beloved MLB in August.

    April 7, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Loren Barker

    Leave the athletes out of this. They train for years to get the opportunity to compete at the Olympics and then the politicians grandstand with their righteous indignation. If we are going to boycott China, let's start with the entire nation not buying anything from China. Let's make it a real sacrifice and a true statement of what we believe is right instead of punishing the athletes with a boycott that doesn't cost the Amircan people anything.

    April 7, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. dave

    the idea of a US boycott is not a political ploy on the part of clinton, rather it is an idea that is getting a good head of steam in quite a few nations.... as little as two weeks ago, most Euro nations said no to the idea of even their top leaders not attending the opening ceremony this summer... then the first one who raised the idea of not going was Ms. Merkle, German Chancellor, to be followed by Prez Sarkozy in france... and then other Euro nations are also picking up on the idea, as is sentiment in canada, australia, NZ, and other democratic nations.... it's just that the US is lagging a bit behind what others in the world were first saying, and now moving toward....
    ALL FREEDOM LOVING NATIONS SHOULD CUT DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH THE SO CALLED PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA... AND SET UP DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH THE FREE REPUBLIC OF CHINA ON TAIWAN-FORMOSA....

    April 7, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Dave

    Hill – How can we believe anything you say?

    April 7, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. Channell

    When are you going to report on Marc Ambinger's (of the Atlantic) report that Mark Penn is still very much involved with the Clinton campaign. He has been on the conference calls today and it looks like his "demotion" actually does not entail anything other than a public rebuke.

    April 7, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. lbw

    I seem to remember Ms. Clinton attending a women's rights conference in China, a nation that controls the reproductive activity of its women to an obscene degree.

    April 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Ryan

    Why would Bush care about the rights of the Chinese populace when he has shown disdain for the rights of his own country's citizens?

    April 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Carrie PA

    Boycotting, the Opening of the Olympics, only punishes the athletes. This will mean nothing to the Chinese government. Punish the Chinese government were it hurts, money and trade.

    April 7, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Ben Heide

    Why we're not boycotting the games-
    I've worked with STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition on this very issue. As you may know, the Chinese have very close ties with the government of Sudan. They could use those ties to stop the government-sponsored genocide in Darfur. What a boycott from President Bush does is it shows a world leader's disagreement with unjust policies.

    A total Olympic boycott is unfair because it hurts those who have been training so hard for this event. The Athletes did not CHOOSE for the Olympics to be in Beijing, and many young people dream of performing in the Olympic Games. We have no right to dash those dreams.

    That doesn't mean that we can't bring up human rights abuses while the spotlight's on China...

    Ben Heide
    STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition
    Great Lakes Regional Outreach Coordinator

    April 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Marc

    It was the Clintons that helped put China into this much power and now we are begging for money from them. Hillary was a big supporter of free trade with China. Now she wants to sing a different tune. My god can you really trust this lady?

    April 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Mckee

    China has a history of human right's violation....this is not new or surprise.-Bill and Hillary know that for sure. It seems she is concern now, what of Rwanda, Taiwan, Sudan genocide and hundreds of countries that do not honor human rights.....Shame on Billary?
    Stick on the issue such as JOBS, HEALTH INSURANCE, ECONOMY, IRAQ'S WAR, NAFTA AND MR. PENN, PLAY ON GENDER/RACE CARD WHENEVER IT SOOTHS YOU, SNIPER MISSPOKE, TAX RETURNS, BILLARY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY DONORS?
    Billary enrichment program from 2000 t0 2006–109 Million in less than 7yrs-where did the money came from and who 're the recipients of charities-Americans deserve to know?

    April 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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