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. Susan

    Kudos to the only candidate with real guts and the substance to make change happen!

    Hillary '08!

    April 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. @americans

    To borrow Billary's words: LETS BOYCOTT BILLARY CAMPAIGN!!!!!

    April 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. DrFill

    Considering this is an election year, I would not expect a major move like that. The U.S. has the political weight to make a move like that mean something.
    China has done a horrible job, and when they said they would upgrade ther image and civil rights policies in lieu of getting the privilige of hosting the Olympics they obviously "Misspoke", but the U.S. has enough problems right now overseas.
    Picking a fight with China could be seen as the right move, but it is definitely at the wrong time.
    We need to get our house in order before we start opening closets elsewhere.
    DrFill

    April 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Rob

    What can you Obama lovers/Clinton haters say now! We should boycott the olypmics! Hillary said it not Obama. But no doubt now Obama will copy her and say the samething. He copies all of her plans and ideas. Now thats change! NOT!

    Hillary for President

    April 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Sandy

    No, No, NO. The time to reject China was when they applied for the games, not now. The intent of the games is to unite people through sports and transcend politics. It is an opportunity to mentor and demonstrate our values through China by our presence. No, No, NO!

    April 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. gary mitchell

    Well she can't attack Obama (the party elders won't let her) or McCain (she can't figure out how to when she secretly has a crush on him). I suppose Bush is the only one who is left and is as he always has been in need of a defense. But if she believes attacking him makes her appear presidential, she is wrong. It's just the latest example of the Clinton cheap shot gallery of what not to do during an election campaign. Hillary is a living 527 who is actually in danger of being the first candidate who arrives at a convention without a chance and with a staff of 1.

    April 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Madison , PA

    Hillary do you enjoy boycotting? You want Bush to boycott Olympic games as you want to boycott Election... No thanks.

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Independent in Florida

    Not a good idea to mix politics with olympics.

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. st louis typicl whte male

    How do you "Hillary Haters" turn everything she says to a big negative? She at lease takes a side/decision/vote.
    You are fools to believe silence is leadership. You have to take a stand sometime... Obama tries to have it both ways. He, for your information, is a very polished politician. And you all think he represents change. He's creepy to say the least.

    Idiots...

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. pat vasquez

    Iagree with Hillary.
    HILLARY 08

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. HILLARY!

    CNN...pitiful......................
    GO McCAIN/RICE!!!!!!

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Ratgurl

    Clinton will do anything to keep her name in the papers. If she was ahead like she expected to be, she wouldn't give a crap about the Olympics ceremony.

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. lou

    we'll hear something from Obama in a couple of weeks...

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Melissa Atlanta, GA

    I applaud Mrs. Clinton for wanting the U.S. to boycott the Chinese Olympics (why in God's name was Beijing the chosen city is beyond my comprehension), but can we believe that she is in earnest with all of the ties the Clinton's have with the Chinese? The Chinese govt wants Clinton to win this election and my gut reaction is always to do the opposite of what the Chinese want.

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Benjamin

    Barack already said this, as was reported by NPR on Wednesday of last week.

    April 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. MP

    PRINCETON, NJ - Barack Obama has gained support in the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking report for April 4-6, and now leads Hillary Clinton by a statistically significant margin, 52% to 43%.

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Lucas, Nashville TN

    Finally something I agree with her on. Finally some spine.

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Michelle

    OMG. She makes me sick. She will say or do anything to get votes.

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. HILLARY!

    GO McCAIN/RICE!!!!!!
    WHY ARE HILLARY supporters constantly left in moderation while BO lovers are continually left to spew hate…..Why CNN?????
    Check out BO's book for all the LIES!
    Kennedy family involvement in his father getting to the US
    Selma march having ANYTHING to do with his birth...
    Magazine article he quotes that NEVER existed.....
    C'Mon CNN. Where are THOSE Stories???????

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. KDogg

    The way the Chinese treat their people is hardly new. However, when the Clintons were in the White House, they kept their eyes and mouths closed about it. They chose to forget about the Tibetans. They chose to forget about the Taiwanese. They forgot about Rwanda. They forgot about the Sudanese. They forgot about poor Americans. (NAFTA) The Clintons were/are instrumental in China's current economic status and acceptance in spite of their human rights record.
    Made in USA < Made in China

    Team Obama
    or reluctantly
    Team McCain
    anything is better than Billary!

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Mike

    Please, I can bearly stand it. We knew what kind of regime this was when we outsourced much of our economy to it and then had them finance our national debt. The Olympics committee also knew what kind of political system China had when it made its decision where to host the games. Now everyone is fretting about how repressive China is. Where was everyone early on? We got in bed with the devil and now all the hand wringing. China never mis-represented itself, its repression and disregard for human rights has been a constant. We need to attend those games and stop being so hypocritical.

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Vernon

    Bessie, you're the only person on this planet who finds any similarity b/n any candidate and Bush.

    Every other politician in this race contains far more intelligence then Bush does. Voting for McCain is like voting for Bush all over again. Voting for Clinton or Obama is like voting for Clinton or Obama–not Bush.

    And, I honestly can't knock Hilary for calling on a boycott for the games. She keeps talking about how its still up in the air as to how the campaign is going to turn out–but all of her actions seem to imply that she feels like she is going down fast.

    It may not be in the best interest of one "super power" to boycott a century-old athletic competition hosted by another "super power."

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Ryan

    I do not think boycotting the olympics is the awnser to china in tibet.

    We as consumers can have a larger voice in what we purchase.

    The olympics should not be political. Let the world compete in sport. Again, if we have a problem with china stop buying there goods.

    HRC will say and do anything. She is sad. You read what her supporters say and these blogs and they are sad. The china thing is another flip-flop from her vast expirence as first lady.

    I hope the voters of PA put a stop to her.

    I am an Independent and like Obama if she gets the nomination no way will I vote for her. She is no good for this nation.

    Vote NO to HRC PA!!!!!

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Walt

    Hillary, if you want to sponsor an effective boycott, tell your cronies at Wal-Mart to boycott all Chinese products. What?!? Can't affect your bottom line now can we?

    April 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Gobama

    Should China (THE US BANKER) boycott US over Iraq?

    Instead of supporting a divisive and polarizing boycott, why not seek to POSITIVELY ENGAGE China?

    Hilary Clinton is just trying to seem important and 'tough'. And as usual, she comes across as shrill.

    Just another comical
    "Shame on you, Barack Obama!" from the Hil. lol

    April 7, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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