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. FrankCT

    HA HA!

    Hillary, do you really know anything or purposely playing fool?

    Go to Home Depot or Walmart and count how many merchandise says "Made In China".

    Not to mention loaning astronomical amount of money from them. Not that he would boycott, he would actually enforce them !

    By the way Hillary, stop being a hypocrite, you should look after your "chief-strategist" deals with Columbia and be quiet.

    April 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Rob NC

    Absolutely not Ms Clinton. The Olympics should not be used for a politcal ploy. Its about forgetting politics and friendly yet fierce competition. Don't you dare ruining this event for athletes that have been training since basically birth!

    April 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. RFP

    We want all the people in Iraq to be free, but we don't want Tibet to be free? We boycotted the Moscow Olympics when Russia was communist, but we won't boycott communist China Olympics? And really, why are we borrowing all this money from China?

    April 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. In Chicago

    I agree, The whole Olympics should be boycotted. Shame on China for these atrocities

    April 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. New ... She did it again on the 7th April 08

    Hmm.... She lies again, today 7th April 2008 saying that She was the first one to vote against the Iraq war, before Obama. Completely wrong! Of course, but why is She showing such low respect to her followers by saying such things?

    April 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. Jessica, MI

    Hillary wants attention...for something else than her lies...I mean "misstatements"

    April 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. Mike

    Would she if she were President? I think not. She talks a big game doesn't she? Little substance though. All words and no action from this opportunist. Give me a break.

    April 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. ALBO

    These is a further example of the lack of knowledge Hillary and her
    incompetent adviser has of internationalissues

    The Chinese-americans in the US are fiercely proud of their ancestral country and certainly will not appreciate total or inaugaration boycotts of the Olympic Games

    If the GOP exploit this cunningly, she will gain a few votes from Fallun
    Gong and Tibetan-americans, and loose hundreds of thousands of
    Chinese-Americans

    TOM ALBO

    April 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Jay Shah Chicago, IL

    This is a Hillary attempt to get the media off the topic of the scandal surrounding Mark Penn and his secret meetings with the Colombian government. I hope the media and voters are smart enough to see through the empty suit that is Hillary Clinton

    April 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Jimmy

    How ridiculous.
    The Olypmic Games were established to harbor good will between nations, not to be used as a political tool. It was wrong in 1980 when the U.S. denied its athletes the opportunity to compete in Moscow and similarly wrong when the then Soviet Union boycotted the games in 1984.
    These athletes have trained long and hard and their dreams should not be used as a political tool.

    April 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. debbie

    "CLINTON to boycott the presidential CAMPAIGN"

    that sounds better...................

    sorry hillary supporters. You will get over it, just like a bad cold!

    April 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Independent

    She'll do anything now to take attention off her campaign now won't she?

    I don't think the Olympics are going to save her from this whole Penn debacle.

    I do think it's clear now what type of "leader" she would be. If these bone-heads are her advisors, is this what we should come to expect out of a Clinton presidency?

    April 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Sean

    Uh, got some proof of that?

    April 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Michael

    Although I dislike and disagree with everything Hillary, I can make this one exception. What China is doing to Tibetans is disgraceful and the world needs to tell China that her tatics towards Tibet shall no longer be tolerated.

    April 7, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Tom

    And in other news, dandelions are blooming in Virginia! The unusually normal weather in Virginia has caused the normal germination and sprouting of perrennial dandelions.

    You decide which story is more exciting.

    April 7, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Jesse Farbowitz

    Even though i consider myself a democrat I dont believe it would be in the best interest of the US to boycott the olympics opening since we are in debt to China. I know its all about the politics now but lets wait to the games end and see how China reacts to the pressure. If it does nothing positive with Tibet then there is a problem.

    These games are about the athletes and I always loved watching America show its dominance in most events

    April 7, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    hm

    April 7, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. demwit

    who??

    April 7, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Bacio83

    Good for her!

    April 7, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. John in Lincoln

    The opening ceremonies are about honoring the competitors, not the host country. Ask any athlete who has participated in the Olympics what thier most lasting memory is. If they didn't win gold and had the opportunity to stand on the podium during the National Anthem it was easily the opening ceremony.

    This is a horrible idea and one the president should give absolutely no consideration to whatsoever.

    April 7, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. rdbtwthlins

    Of course boycotting Chinese made goods is out of the question.

    April 7, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. AJ, IL

    Oh that Hillary! Trying to draw attention away from her issues of being flithy rich with questionable compensation, having to oust Mark Penn, and her polling numbers continue to decline, again.

    April 7, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Robert R.

    A boycott is a useless, knee-jerk reaction.

    Do you want to change things? Show up. Hold a sign that says Human Rights now, In Chinese.

    April 7, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. PA

    Bush should boycott the opening ceremonies. Hillary is right to speak out on this issue, but I still will not vote for her.

    She has lied about too many other things.

    April 7, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. DCsilb

    What good would boycotting JUST the opening ceremony do? Either go all the way and Boycott or show up for the whole games.

    April 7, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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