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. Larry of Boston

    I have put 15 pro Clinton antil Obama messages on here oeer the past few eeeks ... but politicizing the Olympics turns me off. This is a bad idea -- Run for president Hillary, but keep your campaiogn out of the Olympics. This is pure showmanship

    If Obama follows suit – shame on him too

    April 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Cynthia K

    This is outrageous, the Olympics is a none polictical event uniting all altheles from all countries. Stop the politics.

    April 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. john williams san diego, ca.

    Fools for Hillary...do you really want this woman to lead our country just because she is a woman??? May all your immediate family lie to you as she has lied to our nation..

    April 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Shawna

    We owe China to must money to boycott anything, if you want to send a message it should be through trade or a lack of trade dealings.

    April 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    FS – you ignorant! of course they are treating this as a "one in a lifetime" event... it is... they are fighting for their independence... what would you like them to do? wait for the games to be over and not allow the world to see their struggle? the Games in the modern era were created as a political tool to unite countries, however when you have countries with the track records of Germany in 1938 and Russia in 1980 it does have a compelling argument of a China of 2008 where human rights are still not at the front of that regime. Sen. Clinton knows too well what that culture has done to is citizens, especially to women. I believe she is well within her right to call on this administration for a boycot... you guys want to just hate her, then just say it... but if you expect to discuss the events please at least do your homework.

    April 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Ian

    Kinda hard to boycott China when we are borrowing billions of dollars from them everyday.

    April 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Nicholas Hussein

    So, George W. Bush, a chief violator of human rights, a proponent of an illegal war, should boycott China's ceremony on behalf of human rights? That's like Barry Bonds speaking out against steroids...

    April 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Linda

    Obama reminds me of Bush. A fake that can not speak if he is not in front of a teleprompter or reading off cue cards. Hillary stands up for human rights every day and she is not afraid to stand her ground!

    Go Hillary!

    April 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. J

    Anyone else get the feeling that she will be significantly nicer to China once she has been elected?

    Obama '08

    April 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. MIKE

    Beijing olympics 2008! No politics!

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

    What China is doing with regards to Tibet and Darfur is wrong.....but can't we make our views known without boycotting the Olympics? By doing that, the only people we are going to hurt are the American athletes that have been training 4 years for a chance to compete in the olympics. Why should they be penalized just because the games are being held in China?!?!?

    If you want to oppose China, why don't you do it through your foreign policy, and not by waiting to make some dramatic stand during the olympics?

    April 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Eduard

    Way to go Hillary! America stands for democracy and freedom and it is important to speak up-you've done it! Other people are afraid of that and it takes a courageous person to do it. I will vote for you and I hope you grab the democratic nomination as you more than deserve it!

    April 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Carrie PA

    Boycotting, the opening of the Olympic Games, only punishes the athletes. This won't matter to the Chinese government. Hit it where it hurts, money and trade.

    April 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Kathy Corey

    She is only calling for Boycott of the Opening Ceremony...not the entire Olympics. Get it right CNN.

    April 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    Her husband loves China... this is just a ploy for votes.

    DON'T BUY HER HORSEHOCKEY!

    April 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Rich Diori

    Hillary's failure to winnow bad leadership from good people furthermore exposes her innanity in international affairs......

    Clearly no country was justified to sanction America on charges of imorality because of Bill Clinton's involvement in the Lewinsky affair .

    .In the same vein Dubai and Chinese investors cannot stop investing money on ailing American companies at Wall Street just because George Bush (with the blessing of Hillary Clinton )invaded Iraq.

    Good and Bad Leaders may come and go but the spirit of a nation lives on forever..

    Hillary don't get it that Americans want to hear more about the economy,healthcare,education and housing and less of China.

    And it really shows that her claims of experience is plain bunkum.

    April 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Joe American

    Is this the same Hillary Clinton that invited the Chinese to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom.....

    Democrats are going to give it to the republicans again.

    April 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. bob

    Clinton is just trying to play on the protest for political gain. Have you noticed how she changes her mind a lot?

    April 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Concerned Democrat

    Blaming the Clintons for the problems in China with respect to Tibet is just stupid. All of you who seem to think that they somehow caused the problems Tibet is having with China need to go to a local library and educate yourselves on Tibet. This is consistent with Obama supports, just jump on any bandwagon and blame the Clintons for everything. Obama supporters need to open their eyes and educate themselves a whole lot better on issues before they vote.

    In addition, Pres. Bush boycotting the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in no way punishes the athletes. This would be for a diplomatic show only. Mrs. Clinton is not calling for a complete boycott of the games only that politicians and world leaders not attend what is supposed to be China's shining moment on the world stage to send a message of disapproval to the Chinese Government.

    April 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. Sonia CA

    GREAT!!!!!!! someone has to let Bush know his decision on attending the ceremonies is WRONG! We are talking about humans' rights here people, get a clue? GWB does not have the brains to understand his decision is very very wrong, someone has to 'spell the words' for him.

    April 7, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. DM Arlington, TX

    Hillary Clinton Career is over now she's reaching at straws to hold some type of interest. Her senate seat will be up fro grabs now that some of her dirt is out in the open.

    April 7, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Mckee

    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 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. suzy

    Of course Obama is torn....
    he can NEVER make a firm decision about anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    unless it's "I agree with what Senator Clinton said""....
    he is just not STRONG enough to be a president.......not yet anyway.
    Good Lord people – when are you going to start opening your eyes!

    April 7, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. deb

    Well, here we go again! Every time I read these blogs it's nothing but HATEFUL and IGNORANT ranting and raving against Hillary from Obama people who have no clue about ANY of the issues or why, in this case, it may be a good idea to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

    April 7, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. floridian

    To me, one of the thrills of the Olympics is the march of the athletes into the Olympic stadium (or arena) - to see the flags and the athletes themselves. I always have liked to compare the number of athletes in each country's group. The fun of seeing one athlete marching as a representative of an African or Caribbean nation in the winter Olympics. I would imagine there must be quite a thrill for some athletes knowing that the head of their nation (President, King, or whatever) is present and to know that he/she is marching in front of him/her. Let the Olympics begin! And Sen. Clinton, the only boycott I would suggest is that of the Clinton Library.

    April 7, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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