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. Robin Kelly

    Maybe she should boycott Bill for his violation of Monica's human rights – or how about the entire nation's right to NOT having the president lie to them.

    April 7, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Marc

    Wow what a shocker...she for the 1000th time waits until a public opinion is registered.

    Gee...if she gets to be president then we'll need a national referrendum on every issue just because she won't do anything until she's sure the majority of America agrees.

    Real brave there.

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

    Hil'ry, your husband gave China favored nation status. Now they are not so favored?
    Clinton Proposes Renewing China's Most-Favored Trade Status
    Congressional reaction mixed amidst larger China policy issues
    WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 3, 1998) - President Bill Clinton on Wednesday proposed renewing most-favored-nation (MFN) trade status for China, saying it was "clearly in our nation's interest" as he urged Congress to support the request.
    Most-favored-nation status offers low tariffs and treats countries as normal trading partners. "Trade is also an important part of our relationship with China. Our exports have tripled over the last decade and now support over 170,000 American jobs," Clinton argued.

    April 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Sara

    BOYCOTT CLINTON!!!!

    April 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. yankeemel_60@hotmail.com

    I'm not sure where ou learned economics Bayou Joe but neither China, nor any other country, is going to cash in their T-bills. What do you think they would do with their money? There is no other currency out there with our stability or value. If anything, they have more of a stake in improving our economy than we do.

    good for you Hillary- it may not change them but its one inch closer.

    April 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. EDW

    Cease trading with China huh? Look at your shoes, your shirt, your cup and the computer you're typing on. It was most likely manufactured in China. We have become their slaves.

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

    Ian: I agree. So let's just charge the Chinahoos for the secrets that they've taken off of us lately, and put some interest on it. Then we won't have to pay any of that back. And tell them to put that in their smoke and pipe it.

    April 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Justin

    Is Hillary trying to distract supporters from the Penn / NAFTA fiasco?

    April 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. hugo

    Free Tibet! Stop importing junk and poison from China! Go Hillary! You're the best candidate and the only hope to salvage the US.

    April 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Jessica, TX

    Did everyone read the article? She is not seeking to keep athletes who have trained their whole lives from participating in the Olympics. She is asking Bush to do what is morally and socially correct. Further, this is not a ploy to get the attention off of the Penn situation; Hillary advocated for human rights in China long before Penn diaplayed poor judgement.

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

    Grandstanding again! Poor Hillary, so sad! Going down for the count, just like Rocky!

    April 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. dave

    question for Mccain: should the US boycott the olympics in china this summer??
    question for obama: should the US boycott the olympics in China this summer??
    question for candidates Mccain, obama, clinton, and nader: should the US re-establish diplomatic relations with the Free Republic of China on Taiwan(formosa)?
    question for candidates Mccain, obama, clinton, and nader: should the US bar all products made in mainland China unless and until that nation meets minimum standards of democracy and human rights?
    mccain/Rice08!

    April 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Nathan

    It will be difficult to accomplish anything against China, other than play word games. They have no real need to change their position. Boycotting typically fails (in present age) because the only real change will come when Americans choose to purchase things outside of chinese production, which is essentially impossible. Therefore, we are in China's pocket. The reason, poor choice with Most Favorite Nation Status Clinton...

    April 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. White Independent

    More grand standing. Same old Billary going which ever way the wind blows. China had been awarded the olympics July 13 2001 and NOW she's offended. For anyone to become offended seven years later seems just a tad disingenuous.

    April 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Joe

    LEAVE THE OLYMPICS ALONE HILLARY! The Olympics should not be politicized!!!

    April 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. Isabella

    The Olympics should have never gone to China in the first place.
    Too late now to change that .
    However , to boycott the opening ceremonies might be a statement by the international community to protest the latest violence against Tibet.

    April 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. jason

    China is protecting its billions of citizens from terrorist attacks by the barbaric tibetians, nothing different than what US is doing in Iraq/afgan. So clinton cut the crap and do SOMETHING better to save your own campaign.

    April 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. James M, Tacoma WA

    I'm no Clinton fan, but I agree. That we allow chronic human rights abusers like China to hold the Olympics is a black mark against us. China has consistently mouthed the words of human rights while remaining the paramount abuser of those rights. It should be common sense for the west to use this opportunity to confront China.

    If nothing else, China's refusal to help prevent further genocide in Darfur is reason enough to boycott. Good for Hillary.

    April 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Bob

    This showed how desperate she is, I understand and have sympathy to her. However, being desperate shouldn't be an excuse to make stupid calls. Now I don't believe she is capable to lead this great nation. I almost donated to her and glad I didn't. Now I don't think she has any chance to win the primary, let alone the presidency.

    April 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Rb.

    I agree with Hillary,
    but how Bush is going to boycot the country if USA owns a lot of money to China?

    April 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. mgmdeg

    I have the feeling that if BO would have decided to take the same position as Clinton has done in this issue the media would be falling over with delight. Yeah, and also that any of the hosts reporting the miraculously delivered good tidings would probably go as far as to say something akin to getting some sort of rush up his leg...

    April 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. Ash J

    Should the President go to the Olympics opening ceremony?
    • Yes
    • No

    Should Tibet be a freed from China’s oppressive rule?
    • Yes
    • No

    Please send your answer to the President, Senator, and Rep.

    April 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Alex

    The Olympics is about uniting the world through sport, nothing to do with politics. So yeah, great idea to boycott it. I'm sure all your athletes will thank you greatly.

    April 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Ray

    Can Obama ever make up his mind about anything? The only time he takes a firm stance on something is when: 1) it is the exact stance already presented by someone; or 2) it is the exact opposite of the stance already presented by someone that was not of popular opinion.

    April 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Jayson

    What good will a boycott do when we dont have the spine to do anything economically to send China a clear message in regards to all the monkey business in regards to exports to the US?

    Mrs Clinton feel free to go back and tell your husband to stop working for all the oppressive governments in the Middle East if your sto worried about oppression in the world. Instead of playing the part of the normal hypocritical politician every time you speak out on an issue like Tibet.

    April 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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