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. Bob, Phoenix

    James M. "we don't control the Olympics, OK? Ever hear of the IOC?

    The village idiot, Jimmy Carter, tried that nonsense in 1980, and the Soviet Union returned the favor in 1984. Neither accomplished anything on the world diplomacy stage, just denied people the best competition possible, and penalized the athletes. Stupid!

    April 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Dancindukes

    Boycott China? Want to really make and impression on them? Boycott Wal Mart who carries more of their goods than anyone in the US.

    Oh yes, Hillary – That is that big old company in Arkansas. You remember, you were on their Board.

    April 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Shasta

    "As usual, Senator Clinton is out in front. "

    Except that Pelosi already called for this over a week ago. Sorry, John.

    April 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Jacob

    Yes, we wouldn't Bush to be in the line of any sniper fire! Hahaha!

    April 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Carl

    Anyone else noticing CNN's lack of coverage on the possible withdraw of the militia fighting American resistance in Sadr City, thus ending a huge fight in the Iraq War?

    Yeah, a positive spin on the war is BADDDDDD

    April 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. kevin

    let's rally support, insult China and then maybe nuke them as well. Just kiddin'. Let's allow the Olympics to be the Olympics.

    April 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Nate

    Can anyone tell me this, "What does the Olympic Games, an international sports competition, have to do with politics?" Last time I checked winning the Olympics doesn't give you anything but bragging rights.

    April 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Ivan, Schiff

    I delema for the left, the supporters of Obama, Hillary is an advocate of their position on China yet their candidate Obama won't go on the record, it's another Obama's "Present" vote moment.
    Hillary is not saying "Boycott" the Olympics, just the Openning Ceremony by Bush.
    Obama are you for or against human rights all the time, or just whenj it suits you?

    April 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Lyn Jones

    Please rethink your suggestion thoroughly. China holds a substantial protion of our external debt and finances our deficits at T-Bill auctions. Respectivefully, think you are very wrong on this suggestion.

    April 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. EAM

    Former President Bill Clinton, "initially, he pledged to be far tougher on China's human-rights violations than President George Bush was. He promised that free-trade accords would be accompanied by international agreements on the environment and labor rights.

    But on each of these issues, Clinton altered his course. On China, he embraced Bush's policy of (depending on your point of view) accommodation or engagement. This angered human-rights advocates. On trade, open markets have taken priority over negotiating social protections."

    Chip off the old block.....,money makes the world turn....

    April 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Candy

    I'm sure one of her campaign advisers is already having a secret meeting with Chinese officials telling them not to take her official position too seriously. Don't forget, China is one of the most lucrative business partners from whom he got paid millions for his speaking engagements (aka favors).

    April 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. kevin

    Oh yeah, let us not forget that Bill is the one who took the economic negotiations away from the US by making China a PERMANENT most favored nation. But, who cares!

    April 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Dave

    Every move Hillary makes is political. The problem is, all her moves are very short sighted. Her moves show an inability to think things through thoroughly. I don't think she has the patients for critical thinking and that is why she employs a "kitchen sink strategy" , throw everything out and see what sticks. Her focus here is to try to suck up to Nancy Pelosi by agreeing with her in hopes that she will win Nancy's favor. Unfortunately her shortsightedness will not win Nancy's favor. What will win Nancy's favor is honesty and integrity which Hillary shows no sign of.

    April 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. EC

    She is a leader! Hillary has this one on the mark China has made human right a real issue we need to address as a country.

    I wonder how long it would take Obama to confront the issues in China/ American relations. If elected and his actions with Rev. Wright is any indication, he would be out of office before he opened his mouth.

    April 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Brandon

    Imposing Anglo/Western cultural values on a 6,000 year old, collectivist/high power distance society is how we ended up in Iraq...When will we learn what works for us does not always apply to others?

    April 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Antonio

    Go Hillary! Go!

    Vote Hillary, otherwise VOTE Republican.

    April 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. BevAnn

    When I read posts like these it just makes me disgusted – Americans sure do a good job of appearing stupid and hateful. First of all, very few of you have actually reacted to the call for government to distance itself from China BECAUSE of the oppresion on Tibet and their lack of support on the Darfur genocide. You can all jostle to justify your hatred for Senator Clinton, but the fact is, no matter how small and insignificant this rejection from Bush to attend these cermonies might seem, it is a step in the right direction, and we should all support it! End of story.

    CNN you should not have this in the political section – you should go write a real story on this subject. There is clearly need given the protests in Europe and what is beginning to happen in California.

    April 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. A. Harrison

    Tell em HILL. You continue to be the first on these important issues and others fall in line and follow.

    Leader, Hillary 2008!

    April 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. HomoSapien

    Bessie – you find Bush CHARISMATIC???

    Well, I guess I have nothing more to add to that!

    April 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Charlie

    Read history book, everyone!!! Tibet has been part of China for over 500 years!!! I support 100% on how Chinese government handled the RIOTs in Tibet recently. Boycott Beijing Olympic, give me break! American should worry about how bad your economy and social unjustice between blacks and whites. plus, how do you feel when you see a bumper sticker says "FREE HAWAII"??? Don't tell me Hawaii belongs to the States geographically or historically. China is rising, and will be... So, don't be jealous, don't panic. Mind your own business!!!

    April 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Angela

    Please post this!!!

    Cowboy wrote:

    This has convinced me to vote for Hillary in PA….. b/c despite what the media says, she does have conviction and standards.
    –end of quote-

    Really?

    Which part of "she lies like a rug" did you miss? Vote for her–your conviction and standards must match hers. Remember she and Bill sold our jobs to China. You must be one of rich PA folk who could not care less about this.

    April 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Independent

    I like Obama's position much better: don't mix sports with politics. This reminds me of 1992 campaign: Clintons were aloud against China but delinked the most favored nation right after getting elected. They are opportunistic and have no principle.

    April 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Geoff CA

    For all the Obama-ites who have been saying how this will drive up Hillary's negatives even further: what negatives? The only negatives Hillary has are those from lies that have been spread by the Obama campaign, his surrogates, supporters, the biased media, and Republicans. Voters who have been paying attention and who have a brain, have seen right through your smear campaign.

    April 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. end game

    The Boycott is for our president not to attend, read the article,not the atheletes.
    Obama is not qualified to lead and zero experience in leading anything. Guess what picture Michelle Obama as first lady, NOT.
    He can not win general elections against any pair of republicans, Only democrate that has a chance to win the GE is Hillary Clinton.

    April 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Rick

    If anyone can point out how our boycott of the 1980 Olympics punished the Russians and created change in Afghanistan, then maybe a boycott of some sort may make sense. The fact is that the only results of the 1980 boycott were (a) a reciprocal boycott of LA in 1984 and (b) the punishment of some fine young athletes who were deprived of the rewards of many years' efforts for something that did nothing.

    Sure, the IOC bought into the types of protests that we've seen in London and Paris in the next couple of day – and will likely see more of before the torch returns to China, but I can't see depriving another set of athletes of their chance at the Olympics for an action that will do absolutely nothing. If Hillary really thinks some sort of boucott will influence Chinese policy in the way she would hope, she's not qualified to answer the phone at 3AM, or any other time for that matter.

    April 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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