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. DeeNC

    Please let's top politicizing everything. i am in no way condoning the Chinese governments practices, but this is not about them, this is the biggest athletic competition in the world. Sports and competition should be free form all of this. If McCain, Bush, HRC or Barack want to Boycott who cares!!!! The Olympics should be about bringing the world together and setting aside political differences and should not be used as a platform by the world's governments to further their politcal agendas.

    April 10, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. carmen

    yeah yeah, blah, blah. I am sure he and Cindy or their pets or the Clintons wear or consume anything out of China, but now we should demand change in time for the opening ceremonies

    April 10, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Len, Colorado

    Of course, what else should he say....We cannot boycott or not go to the opening ceremonies! We are against human rights! Look at our human right violations in the illegal war in Irag!

    April 10, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. mike

    I really much wonder about CNN or media in general in this part of world why not putting the Tibet/Dala thing in perspective as we usually do with domestic events? I wrote something about it. and CNN filtered my writing.

    April 10, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. kayla

    why should mccain attend the ceremony anyway? does he think he's the president ? dream on methusela

    April 10, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. carrie

    you all are talking about china,bla bla bla
    what about the americans killing thousands of iraqi civillians
    most recently 2 brothers aged 7 and 9 yesterday
    isnt that genocide
    isnt that lack of respect/dignity as a human
    and coming from a man who sang bomb,bomb iran on nat tv
    lets face it,america is worse than china
    what aboutamerica being so close to isreal,despite the killing of innocent palestinian and lebanese women and children
    or close ties with saudi arabia,where women are not allowed to drive
    double standards by the us
    the olympics is abt bringing the world together,and not politics
    if he doesnt want to go,the chinese dont care
    china invading tibet is the exact same thing with america invading iraq
    thank you

    April 10, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Look rivals for Hillary look less presidential

    Yesterday Hillary came out and said Bush should boycott opening ceremony otherwise it would place seal of approval on China's goverment for it's act, CNN analyst say it was not politics and Hillary made unwise decision, now rest of rivals are joining Hillary's badwagen, this just proves how best political team on television(CNN analysts) not so best after all and such idiots to criticize hillary's for her decisions & trying to change voter's mind because they are in love fest with Obama. SEEEE!!!!Now CNN analysts should be ashamed of what they are doing, as reportters they need to use their wise judgement should not be biased/favor a candidate. Now rivals are just saying same thing, this tells me rivals does not have decision making skills/judgement/to take a stand when it comes to issues, because they have no presidential skills they waited to hear what Hillary's says, and then they started joining her bandwagen. This just proves that Hillary's rivals don't have judgement nor willing to take a stand regarding issues.

    Go Hillary.

    April 10, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. mike

    Please, MaCan, "do not be too CNN" about Tibet/Dala thing! I have already decided to vote for you if the choices were to be between you and Hillary because of her view on the matter...

    April 10, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Michael

    As wrong as I think the human rights policies of China are, we, as a nation, have to stop and ask ourselves what right do we have to disdain the Chinese when our current government openly condones and approves of using torture on political prisoners and prisoners of war. As much as I love this country, we are no better and have no right to complain until the US government stops the use of water boarding and other torture techniques.

    April 10, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. thescoundrel

    Boycotting the ceremony will do nothing to influence China in a positive way. It is more likely to stiffen their resolve claiming we are butting in.

    Actual Al Snyder @ 2:42 has more correct than anyone. You want to change China, stop buying their merchandise.

    April 10, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Maxine

    Like why didn't we boycott China getting the Olympics if we trying to protest something, they were mistreating people then, too. Now all of a sudden we realize they are doing something wrong. Should of thought of that before we signed this country over to them. I want someone to name me the products that are made in the USA compared to China. yeah that is what I thought USA-1 China-One million and oh by the way how much property do you think they own in the US......check it out.

    April 10, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Grif

    You tell them, John..

    April 10, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Politicians are a bunch of PARROTs

    Politicians are just like the main stream media just a bunch of parrots! nobody reports the actual news and politicians don't voice orginal ideas they all just copy what everyone else says thinking that the more they hear it that it will be true or factual. This is ridiculous, if you really want to do something important start buying AMERICAN MADE products.

    April 10, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Richard

    This whole boycott thing is silly and prey on people's ignorance. American presidents have NEVER attended Olympic ceremony of a foreign country; not Japan, not Spain, not even Canada. So the whole idea of Bush may not attend Olympic ceremony as sort of a protest is utterly stupid. Bush would be doing something out of tradition if he actually showed up.

    April 10, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Louann-Oregon

    Why in the world was it even voted on and decided to have the Olympics in China. It is not like their lack of human rights is new. The lack of foresight is nuts !!!

    April 10, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. Ben-Portland

    Agreed. We've made this bed with China in a pursuit of higher corporate profit and a quest for more cheap useless junk. The Olympics are not the place to protest china; protest China at Wal-Mart and the supermarket.

    April 10, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. Jan

    I agree with McCain & Clinton.

    Where is the profit Obama ?

    He usually suit with everything Hillary says.

    April 10, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. mark

    John Mccain has no presidential way of running his campaign. He is following Obama's text book just like Hillary. How pathetic!

    April 10, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. mike

    China will still be fine and continuing on her path to reach her dream without any of Hillary, MaCan...

    Frankly, China actually enjoy enormous support from developing nations, who actually are the backbone of China's international influence. that is a simple fact.

    April 10, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Ben

    Mac is very old for this country.

    Mac is an Angry man who calls others and wife names.

    Not this time mac. You are worth 100m and u don't feel our pain, u r running Bush's third term!
    Obama all the way!

    April 10, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. That's Reality

    Why doesn't someone DO something about the genocide in Darfur which the Chinese help to perpetrate? I know some think it will help to boycott the Olympic openings but will it really? Perhaps nobody CAN do anything. I wouldn't expect Bush to (although I believe he would if possible) because he couldn't rally enough support from the international community to help topple Saddam. The responsibility lies with the United Nations and every freedom loving person in the world, but it will be a cold day in hell before they ever do anything about the situation.

    April 10, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Won't go until China Changes? Do you think we are total idiots?
    Are you talking to pre-schoolers? China won't be bullied by the
    U.S. China won't change!!!! And we don't know that? McCain
    is senile. Bush will run the country while sitting on his front porch
    at the Ranch.

    April 10, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. kerry

    Mac is bomb,bomb bomb iran. this guy scared me when it wasn't a joke and can not get my vote!

    April 10, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. MD

    You deplore the Chinese violence in Tibet, yet you endorse our daily rape of Iraq. You are senile, with hatered in your heart, and deep psychological wounds from your days in Vietnam.

    Stop this bleeding heart act. It's so phony.

    April 10, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Mary - Independent

    Why were the Olympics given to China in the first place? With the friction in Tebet, this was a very poor choice.
    And how said it is that the Olympics cannot just be observed as a sport and not politics; however, these idiodic politicans insisted on getting involved.

    April 10, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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