April 10th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
6 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. Jedi Academy

    Sorry, John, but not going to the opening ceremony is not going to hurt the Chinese or even make them listen. This pathetic manouver does nothing for the U.S. or Tibet. If the United States would buy less Chinese products, then that would get their attention. So John McCain saying he "deplores the violent crackdown" is just not enough, nothing but smoke.

    April 10, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. BERNICE

    Why all the sudden interest in China's mistreatment of it's people? It's only been going on for what?FOREVER!! Besides the fact that America can not AFFORD to even open it's mouth against ANYTHING China is doing, short of dropping a bomb in the heart of America. THEY OWN AMERICA AT THIS POINT!

    Plus, not only can we NOT AFFORD to speak all our military forces are not in a prosition to back up the talk if they had to. REMEMBER THEY ARE IN IRAQ AND CAN'T LEAVE!

    Besides there are too many other nations suffering far more than in China, consider all the deaths in Africa! DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!

    It makes no sense to me for Bush not to go to the Opening Ceremonies but still allow our alethes to compete in Olympic. That's like a father refussing a visit to a mean man's house because he beats his children, but allowing his own children to visit for a play date.

    April 10, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Chris - Seattle

    This Olympic boycott stuff is getting old and quite honestly I think it's BS. You know those stimulus package checks we'll be getting in the mail soon, where do you think the $152 Billion came from to make that happen. I call BS because on one hand we don't question their human rights stance when we borrow money from them to support our economy, but we cry foul on the stance when it's the Olympics! C'mon get real people!

    April 10, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. omari

    Oh, nooooooo!!! Who really thinks China is going to change because of McCain's big treat? Not me. I think McCain should just sit down and be happy that he is even the nominee. McCain will not win but I guess the only thing he has right now is hope just like Huckabee.

    April 10, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. NickNas

    OK I want to know these 4 things

    1) Was he even invited?

    2) Who really Cares?

    3) Will he get away with this parroting and trying to look so important on the world stage?

    4) Why Bush and McSame after over 7 years aof watching ALL of our money being sent to China, Jobs sent to China. After letting China get to the point that they OWN us essentially through international DEBT. Do they have the NERVE to pretend they care about their Policies about human rights???

    Oh yea I almost forgot IT IS AN ELECTION YEAR and People forget!!!!!

    April 10, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. aaron, minneapolis mn

    So McCain supports going against one or our great allies? China picks up our debts, helps us with South Korea and in having them move away from their nuclear ambitions and he wants to boycott China.

    McCain is an idiot. And also a flip flopper and is only saying this because the majority of the public's view is for the boycott.

    April 10, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. World Police

    Why these US politicians are getting so much interested in China's problem? This Free Tibet movement has been funded by US government, and trained by CIA for 50 years. Get real. Do something good for the US economy, US$, US citizens if you want to be a US president.

    April 10, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Why should John McCain to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics as a goverment offical paid for by tax payer he is not president. Pay his own way

    April 10, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Marie-Lynn

    Where is this guy going with that comment?????????? On wich planet is he????

    April 10, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Retired Professional w/woman for obama

    We, McCain says, Well, I will not attend unless China Changes.
    Oh right, they are going to change their criminal hotshot ways in
    a few months for you John? Don't they own us. Mattel had nothing
    to say that they wanted to hear and the Big Corporation was "shut
    up".
    Mr. McCain, just say it, you and Bush are going. Are you taking
    Lieberman and Linsay Graham on this fun taxpayer funded trip.
    Well, if we could afford it, and we could "talk back" to the Chinese
    we would want you to go for the Sake of the Olympians. Just Go.
    Stop acting otherwise talking on behalf of Bush. Throw it out there
    for us dumb Americans to ponder. We already know.

    April 10, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. fred

    Sounds exactly like what Senator OBAMA, said!!!!!!!!

    April 10, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Ben

    i give him credit for this!

    say NO to the two family dynasty!

    Obama 2008

    April 10, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. jack

    China is not the USA. Their business is not our business and we better learn that lession all over the world. We should use the Olympics to unify beliefs and good will, and not try to press our beliefs on other nations. They are all fed up with our dictatorial ways.

    April 10, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Zack

    And more trouble to come for Hillary! There are reports that Hillary's people were fuming this morning that John Edwards is going to endorse Obama right before the PA primary!

    Even Mad Cabbie reported this on his blog last week ! We would like to see Hillary/McCaine match up but that's unlikely. Either way, this was the democrats year to win the White House but you guys screw this one big time!

    Go McCaine '08!!!!!!

    April 10, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. karen

    Our current president is a non-moral person. He has to be told by even the GOP that attendance for the opening ceremonies is a bad idea. I mean how come this guy doesn't have a brain of his own? Didn't his mommy teach him anything.

    April 10, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. roger

    why bother it will make no difference if he attends or not china will do what china wants to do, the united states has lost its influence in the world....we owe china so many billions of dollars they will tell us what to do...look at how they handle the trade agreements "however they want" & the united states eats crow and moves on....

    April 10, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Darth Vadik, CA

    Dont worry McNasty, nobody is asking you to go.

    April 10, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Belle

    Of course, the candidates "follow" Clinton's lead....Obama yesterday to the Chicago Sun Times, then McCain today.

    Meanwhile the analysts say "Boycotting" the Opening Ceremonies is not Presidential....oopppsss....good thing CNN's Analysts are NOT running for President!

    April 10, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Bukky

    So he shouldn't weight his options now? wha why did McCain finally ready a paper?

    April 10, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    This would be an injustice to our own athletes.
    McdCain–stop trying to be a liberal–and pursue some realistic and potentially successful policy decisions rather than spitting in the wind like the Democrats want to do.

    April 10, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    There is nothing more dangerous in golbal politics than sympathetic understanding.

    April 10, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. al snyder

    What is up with all the candidates suggesting a boycott of the olympic opening ceremony? If people were really serious about the politics of china, they would buy American products or at least products from any other country, but China. I think we should all stop being hypocrites. If you have a problem with China protest Walmart and allow at least one venue where the world can come together. It is really ashame that the Olympics were given to China with so little foresight and has now been made into political rhetoric.

    April 10, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Nowlin

    There is a courtesy,and understand that comes with being a leader. If
    you are trying to be the new boss and you don't understand the reality
    of the seriousness of our financial position then get advice and try to
    do what you need to for your people. We need as many countries on our side as we can get. Being silly is like being ignorant. The result is
    not good.

    April 10, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Corrected. There is nothing more dangerous in global politics than sympathetic understanding

    April 10, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Phil in KC

    Unexpected, but good for him!

    April 10, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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