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. Tony

    Why, is the concern human rights violations? Maybe, although she also voted for that, she should ask him also to boycott Iraq as well.

    April 7, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Nancy Pelosi has already made that request Hillary so don't try to use this for political gain.

    April 7, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    How sad since the open of the Olympics is to honor the athletes and the hard work each individual put in to get there. China is just the host country and the Bush should attend and not honor the one's who work their butts off to get there.

    April 7, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Christian, Tampa FL

    This is ridiculous. People have been looking for excuses for a while to "punish" China, and if the issue wasn't Tibet then it would have been Darfur or something else.

    If we boycott Chinese Olympics now, then the Chinese and others will boycott London in 2012 for whatever sensational reason, and the very point of the Olympics, namely world peace, will dissolve.

    April 7, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Alex H

    Good! I mean she's following Pelosi's lead, but we need high profile politicians pressuring Bush to do something about China instead of twiddling his thumbs for another 9 months so someone else can deal with it; even though if he were to stand up to China and succeed in helping Tibet, it could potentially salvage his 'legacy'.

    Adviser: Mr President, the Iraqi citizens are being oppressed by Saddam Hussein.
    Bush: Bomb them!

    Adviser: Mr President, the Tibetan monks are being oppressed by the Chinese government
    Bush: Awwwwww, but I wanna go to the Olympics!!!!!!! Can't it wait?

    April 7, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Women 4 Obama

    Hillary,

    How about you and your husband boycott your donors with connections to the Communist Chinese government?

    Just like Iraq, the Clintons have no morale right to criticize China.

    April 7, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. led

    I don't like Clinton, but I respect her for calling on Bush to boycott. I think it is about time the US gets involved in such an important cause

    April 7, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. The Austrian

    Boycotts, embargos, trade restrictions blah blah blah blah blah!

    The government and her little harpies and daemons would be wise to study up on economics and learn that the best way to promote international peace and change tyrannical governments is through free and open trade with those nations. These calls for boycotts are sensationalist drivel, and will do nothing to change China and everything to punish the athletes, who just want to compete.

    April 7, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Ron, TX

    Wow! What a story!

    Thanks for the details, CNN!

    April 7, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. C R Williams

    She is almost as smart as Jimmy Carter.

    April 7, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Nicknas

    I have yet another in a frustrateing string of questions that our resident Hillabots will most likely not be able to answer. C'mon help SELL me on your Candidate ok?

    I keep seeing you caller her
    Qualified , Capable, LEADER?

    so I ask you ..seriously

    What qualities in her character lead you to profess this so loud and so often? I will make it simple and giver you some multiple chices

    1) Her record (which keeps being exposed as a Lie)?

    2) Her feel for your problems while she counts the intrest she is earning on her 109 MILLION? ( It is more than 99% of you make in a year believe me)

    3) The inability to see this big picture and think of the people and her country before herself?

    4) The fact that she NEVER wavers in her message and is the SAME person you see from week to week ?

    5) The fact that she shows her true leadership style by staying so positive even in the negative times and stays on her message ?

    or

    We hate Obama so much ( for no good reason) she could come over and slap our mamas and kick our Babies and we would STILL vote for her to keep HIM from being the President.

    April 7, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Jerome

    I agree 100%.

    I think he should boycott. This whole world has gotten crazy with the atrocities performed against others... including our own.

    April 7, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. wess

    why

    April 7, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Kevin M

    It's a crime what China is during in Tibet. The pollution there maybe dangerous for the athletes. The potential danger to the athletes is the best reason to consider a boycott. A boycott is unlikely to affect China's policy on Tibet or political freedom in general. It will be a shame to punish the athletes for China's policies and actions if their health is not threatened.

    It's time for Hillary to back Obama. She is asking Superdelegates to ignore the primary voting and telling voters how important it is for their votes to count. Which is it? It's time for Hillary to end the 'exaggerations' and contradictions that have become synonymous with her campaign. Let's get ready for McCain in November.

    Yes we can! Obama 2008!

    April 7, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Texas

    Why would he....and why would she call for a boycott?

    The US is in debt and/or in bed with China. We can't "bite the hand that feeds us".....

    Quite honestly if she was the president (and she will never be), she would be the last person to make this call. This is purely policital....purely. She is trying to feed off the lastest news story in an attempt to avoid the fact that her campaign is falling apart.

    This is becoming sad....seriously everyday there is something else with Mrs. Clinton. I honestly gave her more credit than this.....boy was I wrong.

    April 7, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Libertine, Fort Myers

    Should he put a poster up in front of the White House too?

    Give me a break!!!

    What we should do is place an economic embargo on China. They have not moved towards a free and democratic government as agreed. We should cease trading with them until they show improvement in the areas they agreed upon when they were granted most favored nation trading status.

    April 7, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Matthew

    Obama will probably go, with Rev. Wright leading the invocation.

    April 7, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. An Agnostic Democrat

    And as a return favor to our great nation, Bush should call on the American people to boycott Hil-lie-ary as our next incompetent commander in chief who will never be ready from day one backward or forward. She can't even manage her campaign, her staff or her campaign finances so that speaks volumes to how she will manage the country. That is when she's telling the truth which these days is ... almost never.

    April 7, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. gene

    Good for you Hillary. I really don't like us meddling in other nation's business, but what is going on in Tibet today is terrible and we have no business supporting the Olympics .

    April 7, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Chris

    Not only should he boycott it but the entire Olympic teams should boycott it.

    April 7, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Amia Tanny

    She is crasy at this moment. I am going stop supporting her from this moment.

    April 7, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Craig

    Why should Bush boycott the opening? Its not like he really cares how we (the United States) are perceived in the world – and the rest of the world hardly cares what he thinks or says. After all, isn't it typical of him to use his Presidency to get good seats for the opening ceremony?

    I don't see any inconsistency between his failure to do anything of value on the foreign policy front and his failure to recognize that attending the opening is a slap in the face to all those who understand that China is a human-rights violator.

    One more for his legacy!

    Craig

    April 7, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. andy

    nice attempt to change the subject.

    April 7, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Counting Down

    Do people not realize that we are borrowing money from China to pay for Bush's war? What happens if China gets mad when we protest the opening ceremonies and hangs this over our head?

    I am not happy with China's dealings with Tibet, however, the U.S. needs to be very careful on how they approach this since we are so much in debt to China.

    April 7, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Rob

    Although a protest of China's human rights record is admirable, an olympic boycott only serves to punish the athletes as President Carter learned in 1980. Theses athletes have trained for their entire lives and deserve to share in the entire olympic experience. The Chinese will not care–unless the IOC cancels the games totally.

    April 7, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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