April 10th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
7 years ago

McCain: I would not attend unless China changes

(CNN) - John McCain said Thursday he would not attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympics unless China changes some of its human rights practices.

"I believe President Bush should evaluate his participation in the ceremonies surrounding the Olympics and, based on Chinese actions, decide whether it is appropriate to attend," he said in the statement. "If Chinese policies and practices do not change, I would not attend the opening ceremonies. It does no service to the Chinese government, and certainly no service to the people of China, for the United States and other democracies to pretend that the suppression of rights in China does not concern us. It does, will and must concern us."

(Full statement after the jump)

"Our relationship with China is important, and we value our ability to cooperate with the Chinese government on a wide variety of strategic, economic, and diplomatic fronts. But the Chinese government needs to understand that in our modern world, how a nation treats its citizens is a legitimate subject of international concern. China has signed numerous international agreements that make China's treatment of its citizens a subject of legitimate international concern, not just a matter of national sovereignty. To be a responsible stakeholder in the modern world, a government must also be responsible at home, in protecting, not trampling, the rights of its people.

"I deplore the violent crackdown by Chinese authorities and the continuing oppression in Tibet of those merely wishing to practice their faith and preserve their culture and heritage. I have listened carefully to the Dalai Lama and am convinced he is a man of peace who reflects the hopes and aspirations of Tibetans. I urge the government of the People's Republic of China to address the root causes of unrest in Tibet by opening a genuine dialogue with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, aimed at granting greater autonomy. I urge the Chinese authorities to ensure peaceful protest is not met with violence, to release monks and others detained for peacefully expressing their views and to allow full outside access to Tibet.

"I understand and respect Prime Minister Brown's decision not to attend the Olympic opening ceremonies. I believe President Bush should evaluate his participation in the ceremonies surrounding the Olympics and, based on Chinese actions, decide whether it is appropriate to attend. If Chinese policies and practices do not change, I would not attend the opening ceremonies. It does no service to the Chinese government, and certainly no service to the people of China, for the United States and other democracies to pretend that the suppression of rights in China does not concern us. It does, will and must concern us."


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Veterans for Obama

    Thanks for your input Grampa...now go back to sleep.

    April 10, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. proud army and navy mom

    WAR MONGER

    April 10, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Ian

    Is this his sad way of trying to distance himself from Bush? How about this? I will not vote for you unless YOU change!

    April 10, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Karen

    I respect the decision to support human rights. How about ALL rights, though? How about the rights of Iraqi citizens not to be killed by us as well. Surely that counts, too.

    April 10, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Veterans for Obama

    McCain believes they should waterboard not use the Chinese drip torture.

    April 10, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Eric

    I was really upset at S.F. IOC route. Was that really a display of the flame. More like running for cover. As an american I felt robbed of our chance to protest, so I have decided that I will not watch the Olympics. I hope you join me and spread the word. It will only help China if we tune in. I will do my part. Imagine if the whole world decided not to watch.......that would send one heck of a message to China. What else can I do? I can't go to these cities to protest, so I will NOT WATCH THE Olympics. I know bush will attend, he owes them too mush not to. SO JOIN ME AMERICA AND DO NOT WATCH THE OLYMPICS!!!!!FREE TIBET.
    TIBET wants to be free UNLIKE IRAQ!!!

    April 10, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. rdbtwthlins

    Meanwhile...

    America's imports rose 3% in February to $213.7 billion from $207.3 billion in the previous MONTH.

    April 10, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. rb from the Peg

    Drop the opening event and show the Chineese that we do some things right in North America

    April 10, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Joe Fattal

    They should have done something about than when China was chosen as the next olympic site.

    April 10, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. mep

    When are you going to get it McCain? "You would not attend unless they change"...First of all, you cannot blackmail another country into what you believe...Does Iraq come to mind?...Secondly, thanks to your pal Bush, China owns us and if they request his presence, he will be there.

    April 10, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Ken from Michigan

    One arena where the world comes together to forget politics and celebrate the human spirit of competition and what happens? Politics rears it's ugly head and tries to ruin it! Keep Politics out of the Olympics PLEASE!!

    April 10, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Well, if this was not an election year, they would go and if
    would not be an issue. These men are powerful. They think they are God. They go to war, without caring what
    America and their boys think. They make decisions all the
    time that are not "for the people" If John wasn't running for
    Pres, the man would go with no conscience on the issue.
    And McCain chiming in to saying that he would not rule out
    a preemptive strike against another country. War games?
    War Crimes?

    April 10, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. ***AMERICAN***

    When did the Olympics become a political event. I thought it was about the sport and world peace. I guess I am just naive.

    April 10, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Mike

    You slefish old man! You would deprive US athletes of participating in a once in a lifetime event (the opening) because you think that would show something to China??? Gawd...we have GOT to get new people running this country....

    April 10, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. chuck

    Interesting, I believe that it was Hillary Clinton on Monday that first said this, and then the press finally covered Obama saying it on Wednesday and now McCain on Thursday.

    Interesting where good ideas come from on the campaign trail...

    April 10, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. MC- Atlanta,GA

    Wow – John McCain is actually right on something.

    April 10, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. stan

    Why is it that everything he says is so irrelevant to me?

    HILLARY 08

    April 10, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. kenny cole

    If prime minister BROWN can boycut the olympic opening ceremony then BUSH should do the same but this may be hard for BUSH 'cos you can't say NO to people who borrow you money

    April 10, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. don't worry, you are not even invited

    nobody invited you, you wish you can attend

    April 10, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Eric

    was really upset at S.F. IOC route. Was that really a display of the flame. More like running for cover. As an american I felt robbed of our chance to protest, so I have decided that I will not watch the Olympics. I hope you join me and spread the word. It will only help China if we tune in. I will do my part. Imagine if the whole world decided not to watch…….that would send one heck of a message to China. What else can I do? I can't go to these cities to protest, so I will NOT WATCH THE Olympics. I know bush will attend, he owes them too mush not to. SO JOIN ME AMERICA AND DO NOT WATCH THE OLYMPICS!!!!!FREE TIBET.
    TIBET wants to be free UNLIKE IRAQ!!!

    April 10, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Eric

    was really upset at S.F. IOC route. Was that really a display of the flame. More like running for cover. As an american I felt robbed of our chance to protest, so I have decided that I will not watch the Olympics. I hope you join me and spread the word. It will only help China if we tune in. I will do my part. Imagine if the whole world decided not to watch…….that would send one heck of a message to China. What else can I do? I can't go to these cities to protest, so I will NOT WATCH THE Olympics. I know bush will attend, he owes them too mush not to. SO JOIN ME AMERICA AND DO NOT WATCH THE OLYMPICS!!!!!FREE TIBET.
    TIBET wants to be free UNLIKE IRAQ!!!!!!!

    April 10, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. vejendla.vijayarao

    wonderful message.the word pretend is soappropriate

    April 10, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Eric

    was really upset at S.F. IOC route. Was that really a display of the flame. More like running for cover. As an american I felt robbed of our chance to protest, so I have decided that I will not watch the Olympics. I hope you join me and spread the word. It will only help China if we tune in. I will do my part. Imagine if the whole world decided not to watch…….that would send one heck of a message to China. What else can I do? I can't go to these cities to protest, so I will NOT WATCH THE Olympics. I know bush will attend, he owes them too mush not to. SO JOIN ME AMERICA AND DO NOT WATCH THE OLYMPICS!!!!!FREE TIBET.
    TIBET wants to be free UNLIKE IRAQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 10, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Chuck in Oregon

    Dont you get it. The games should not be a political bargining chip. Have we not learned anything yet as a nation? This is about the those that are competing in the Games, it is not about anything else.
    If you have a problem with China MR McCain, then talk to them directly, and stop this showmen ship and grandstanding. Talking with out preconditions or threats of no attendence will get you alot further than what your doing now or thinking of doing.

    April 10, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. unions are not stupid

    WOW WOW WOW I can not believe he is using these protests as a way to get votes in CA that is very very distasteful he has been all over the world! has seen these things first hand and never spoke out before! while i agree with his choice It stinks to high heaven

    Go Obama 08

    April 10, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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