(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.
Instead of telling the ol' bush man what to do. Clinton should look in the mirror and get herself together, maybe reconcile some past dealings with people she has harmed.
Give me a break Hillary!
Germany is boycotting it, and we should, too.
But it'll never happen.
We're too friendly with the Communist country - it's where Wal-Mart gets all its junk, and we borrow money from them to finance our endless wars.
President Hillary Clinton..
What can Cinton do you for you?? Answer: WHAT THEY DID DURING THEIR TERMS..Remember how well this country was...How well our economy was...etc..
I am very disappointed. Olympics is about sport not politic, I am no longer contributed to CLinton's campaign.
Pure opportunism,in an attempt to grab a headline.
Hillary has officially changed her name, She is to be now called
Mrs Pinnoccio Rodham-Clinton
CNN, you make us sick.......
Clinton's experience = Jimmy Carter's foreign policy.
Not a good idea to boycott the olympics. Why punish the athletes??? They've trained their whole lives for these events. While I agree that China has committed inhumane acts, the government needs to find some other way to make human rights a priority in China.
Hey, Hillary, I hear that the Chinese want more human rights leniency based on the fact that there are more of them so we should take into account that it takes them longer to get their act together....sound familiar?
It's proper by just boycotting the opening instead of the whole game. Bush should consider it.
I am an Obama supporter, but this shows Hillary does has more experiences on foreign policy.
Probably already been said, but I wonder how she feels about President Clinton granting China Most-Favored Trade Nation status. It isn't like China invaded Tibet and began genocidal practices AFTER 1998.
I think this is a good move by Hillary. So far, she's the only presidential candidate to do so. Watch to see who follows.
Figures, all you Obamabots are attacking Hillary about her qualifications and she's simply speaking out for the people to Tibet. Honestly, can you Obama idiots think for yourself or do you need your master to tell you what to think? Obama followers are in a cult. Hopefully, you will snap out of it before the election.
She is becoming so desperate. This proves once again that she will do anything to win the nomination.
Boycott Hilary in 2008, not China
It's funny she would call for a boycott of the opening ceremonies for human rights violations the Chinese inflict on their people. Yet it was NAFTA (Hillary's pet project) that exascerbated those human rights violations 20 fold. This is certainly double speak at it's best.
Actually Bessie, You're wrong.
Bush had a lot of "experience" before he ran. He was Governor of Texas. I understand the argument that Hillary has "Experience."
However, if we use your argument, then Tiger Woods' wife could potentially be the best female golfer in the world to ever play the game right? I'm sure she was around when Tiger answered the red phone when Nike called at 3 am.
People, read the article! She's only talking about the OPENING ceremony. Jeez.
Trying to change the SUBJECT! Hillary and her supporters didn't like it when some of Obama's supporters were asking her to step-down-
But – it's OK. for her to ask Bush to boycott! There has always been an issue with China regarding human-rights – but it's OK that China products all of our goods!
Did we just have some people compare Obama and Bush. Wow! I sure missed that. Seeing as how Obama was voted "Most Liberal" out of all the senators for 2007in the National Journal. Do some research people before your outlandish claims bring you and your candidate down.
Why should Bush boycott the opening, and then America go on to compete in the games? What message is she really trying to send here?
a cheap shot.
Is there anybody who doesn't think this is all about moving the spotlight off of less favorable stories on the Clintons? Really?
This, like the new breast cancer announcement, is something that could have just as easily been announced weeks ago.
Hell, I still think we wouldn't even have gotten the taxes released on Friday were it not for Penn's little indiscretion.
Clinton is right and she is proving that she can stand up to China.
This is a critical time because the Chinese have the power to crash our economy, as reported last night on 60 Min, but we cannot cowtow to a dictatorship.
Obama has already suggested that he would have a hard time telling China how to behave because of the debt George Bush has run up. This is proof that Clinton is the only choice for Democrats that want a strong president.