Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olympic Opening Ceremonies

On a day that we learn that the Olympic torch was extinguished 3 times in Paris due to the efforts of pro-Tibet demonstrators, Hillary Clinton has released a statement calling on President Bush to boycott the Olympics opening ceremonies (via e-mail):

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.

You'll notice that she stops well short of calling for a boycott of the games altogether, a position Nancy Pelosi shares:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not want the United States to boycott the Beijing Olympics, but she says that President Bush should consider skipping the opening ceremony.

"I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table," the California Democrat told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview today. "I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do."

So far only German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will skip the opening ceremonies, but her spokesman insists it's unrelated to the unrest in Tibet.

This issue is bound to get much more coverage here in the US as the torch arrives here this week and considering the next stop in the torch's relay -- San Francisco -- it's bound to be snuffed out quite a few more times before it leaves.

I'll update once Senator Obama weighs in on the issue, as I expect he will.

Tags: china, Hillary Clinton, Olympics, Tibet (all tags)

Comments

41 Comments

Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush

Clinton has her eye on the ball here. The only chance the Tibetan people have against the genocide being waged against them by the Chinese government is for international pressure to be brought to bear on china.

by linfar 2008-04-07 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush

It should be pointed out that the Dali Lama himself is against a boycott of any kind. He has always stood for inclusion, even with our enemies.

I know it's not a politically popular idea, but it would be so much better to attend AND speak out against the Chinese atrocities. In fact, a show of solidarity for the Tibetan people while attending would have such a larger and more dramatic impact.

by not Brit 2008-04-07 11:27AM | 0 recs
"Attend and speak out"

Are you kidding?  Bush?  Speak out for human rights?

Hahahahahahahaha.  Good one.

Mojo for the thought, though.

by creeper1014 2008-04-07 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush

I would think twice before throwing around the word "genocide".
And if history has taught us anything about China, it is that they DO NOT yield under pressure. They harden their stance and withdraw inward - not exactly what we want from a growing superpower that has its hands deep inside our purse and its weapons aimed at our ally.

Pressure is a good idea - but must be applied wisely. Boycotting any aspect of the games would only serve to embarrass the Chinese government. I think talking about boycotting (such as what Clinton and Pelosi are doing) is the right strategy. But an actual boycott would do more harm than good.

by LandStander 2008-04-07 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush

"I think talking about boycotting (such as what Clinton and Pelosi are doing) is the right strategy. But an actual boycott would do more harm than good."

Its a good point.  I didn't consider the benefits of making credible the threat of a boycott.

by direwolfc 2008-04-07 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

Obama does not usually copy Clinton, it's usually the other way around.

So don't expect the same sort of ME TOO response from Obama that Clinton might deliver under these circumstances.

by baghdadjoe 2008-04-07 10:38AM | 0 recs
Other than your hero worship,

What about the Tibetans?

Perhaps Obama will do this also because it is right.

by TomP 2008-04-07 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

What on earth was there in this diary to prompt your snippy response?

by creeper1014 2008-04-07 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

He is concerned ahead of time since Obama wasn't first.  LOL.

Obama does hang back and see what the others are doing.  

I have yet to see bold leadership from Obama or for that matter Clinton.
But Obama supporters seem to think he is perfect.  

by pioneer111 2008-04-07 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

i support obama and i know that he isn't perfect.

i also see clinton's move as pure grandstanding.

she could have done something for the tibetans years ago. this situation did not just appear.

i also wonder how the chinese might answer calls from iraq war supporters to respect human rights.

if the u.s. were hosting the games, might not china have good cause to boycott?

by hueydixiepearl 2008-04-07 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

Bull.  Obama's history is he looks out for number one first.  Ask his Grandma, dragged into the fight kicking and screaming and thrown under the bus as a racist white woman.

Clinton did the right thing here, while Obama was still checking his shorts for fearstains.

Feel the burn, Bamabots...

Hllary's shown leadership.

by dembluestates 2008-04-07 12:59PM | 0 recs
Are you kidding me

How many times in debates has he said "I agree with Hillary" or  some variation of that. No matter, you are pleased enough with yourself making some snippy comment that had nothing to do with the diary at hand.  

by Christopher Lib 2008-04-07 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp
YES...
I believe in better late than never.
HRC is doing the right thing...
I await the response from Obama and McCain.
This is a gutsy move. Although I would have wished it regarding Iraq...I do not discount it.
I really believe this is from her and not Mark Penn.
President Carter withdrew U.S. participation when the USSR tried to glorify itself.
It may not play well...it may be too late...
but this is what I will take away from this Primary.
by nogo war 2008-04-07 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

It will be extremely disappointing if Obama follows suit with a similar position on the issue.  How does boycotting the opening ceremony accomplish anything more than 'saber-rattling' with China?  This is nothing more than a shallow attempt to embarrass the Chinese government without putting any real pressure on them to make any of the changes we want them to make.  

We won't be able to embarrass them into making changes - they are a proud and nationalistic country.  What we can do is work with them and nudge them towards making the changes we desire in the larger and more complex context of foreign/trade policy along with the EU. The political capital with China we can gain my NOT boycotting maybe more useful than whatever we might gain by embarrassing China on the world's stage.

I see this latter approach as more fitting within Obama's 'dignity-based foreign policy' approach - but we'll see if he ends up taking the more politically convenient route.

by direwolfc 2008-04-07 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

It forces China to behave with more restraint. If the whole world is watching-- this  gesture may seem 'empty' to a round eye, but to a Chinese person it would in fact constitute  a HUGE loss of face. It is in fact a powerful gesture. Spielberg has already refused because of Darfur.

by linfar 2008-04-07 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

China is not going to be 'forced' to do anything. That is wishful thinking. The kind of persuasion necessary to make an impact on Chinese domestic policy is NOT public embarrassment.

by LandStander 2008-04-07 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

"The political capital with China we can gain my NOT boycotting maybe more useful than whatever we might gain by embarrassing China on the world's stage."

Um, this isn't supposed to be about what America will gain. This is supposed to be about supporting Tibetans.

"Threatening to embarrass China when the world's eyes are turned on them, if they keep oppressing Tibetans"
makes to me much more sense than
"Gaining capital by not embarrassing them, and then we'll be in a better position to influence them in favor of the Tibetans, at some hypothetical future moment when they won't have as much need to listen to us, and the world will be paying them less attention"

At what hypothetical future moment will the democracies around the world be in a better position to influence China's relations toward Tibet for the better?

by Aris Katsaris 2008-04-07 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

"Um, this isn't supposed to be about what America will gain. This is supposed to be about supporting Tibetans."

The implication was that any political capital America gained by not boycotting would be used to help the Tibetans - not be used to benefit the US.  Sorry I didn't make that clearer.

The Olympics have already done a lot to force China to show restraint - they obviously care how they are perceived internationally, so it is an important tool. However I think we must be judicious with how we use this tool.  I feel that a China that feels unfairly spurned will do less, not more, on issues like Tibet or Africa.

Just like declaring 'an axis of evil' or makig 'with us or against us' statements, affronting a country's pride does little to convince them of your point of view.

by direwolfc 2008-04-07 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

I agree with Clinton and Pelosi on this.  We have legitimatized too many of China's abuses.  This would at least be a small signal to the Chinese people that we Americans actually care about more than just buying their products.  If we do that is.  I am sort of horrified to begin with that the Olympics is being held in China; aside from what is happening in Tibet their record on so many human rights issues is terrible, workers rights is terrible, and their record on the environment is catastrophic.  

by mady 2008-04-07 12:07PM | 0 recs
Boycotting the ceremonies will be good

I think it's a good thing to boycott the ceremony. This won't be the same as Carter forcing the athletes to boycott. Let the athletes compete, but there is no need for the ceremonial participation where we help China with their propaganda. China is out of control. What they did with TIbet is worse than what Saddam did with Kuwait.

by Pravin 2008-04-07 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Boycotting the ceremonies will be good

slight correction there, you mean what GHW Bush did to encourage SH to go after the folks slant drilling and stealing his oil. Oh and FYI there were no babies tossed from incubators, that was all made up.

by zerosumgame 2008-04-07 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

Actually forbidding your athletes to compete only hurts the athletes themselves.

Boycotts are purely symbolic gestures (unless I suppose the entirety of the developed would boycott them) so on a symbolic level it works for heads of state to boycott the ceremonies.

by MNPundit 2008-04-07 10:50AM | 0 recs
First time in a very long while...

First time in a very long while that I find myself agreeing with Hillary Clinton.

by Aris Katsaris 2008-04-07 10:52AM | 0 recs
Well

I guess that means you're a Republican.

by Christopher Lib 2008-04-07 02:20PM | 0 recs
Go Clinton Go

Good for Clinton. This makes me feel like I can get behind either candidate. I support Obama, but a move like this while pathetically symbolic gives me hope that Clinton will do right by us progressives.

by jlars 2008-04-07 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush

Good on Clinton for leading the way on this issue.

by NewOaklandDem 2008-04-07 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

A little disappointing to see that her campaign leaked it to drudge.  Not uncommon practice but I don't know why Democrats think they are rewarded when they do that.

by jakedecker 2008-04-07 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott
cool.
by amde 2008-04-07 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

Am I the only one that feels that (sadly) America -- and President Bush in particular -- isn't in any position to criticize a country's treatment of another country?

by ChrisKaty 2008-04-07 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

Ouch...that one hit home.  Much mojo for it.

Makes you wonder if the Chinese wouldn't prefer that he stay home.  How much glory does the attendance of Mr. 30% Approval Rating give them, anyway?

by creeper1014 2008-04-07 12:39PM | 0 recs
Clinton's Call for Boycott

It's smart.  It also covers up some of the happenings in her campaign recently.  I don't know that an all out boycott is going to happen or if it's the right way to go about it.  I don't think China will care if there are people missing, more medals for them.

by venavena 2008-04-07 11:32AM | 0 recs
Uh....

China owns our ASS.  We aren't going to do anything that is too politically unsavory.

by JustJennifer 2008-04-07 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Uh....

Blunt but true.

by LandStander 2008-04-07 01:13PM | 0 recs
Agree with Hillary on this one

Would it happen? Nope.  

by optimusprime 2008-04-07 11:39AM | 0 recs
San Francisco

This issue is bound to get much more coverage here in the US as the torch arrives here this week and considering the next stop in the torch's relay -- San Francisco -- it's bound to be snuffed out quite a few more times before it leaves.

Todd, do you really believe American protests will be as effective as those in Europe? I don't see how that could be.  In a country where 80% of the population thinks we're "on the wrong track" we still can't mount protests that are as effective as those of forty years ago.

It would be great if you were right but I frankly don't see the involvement by citizens of this country that is necessary to effect serious change.

Furthermore, if the Administration can keep protesters so far at bay when Bush is making an appearance it seems reasonable to assume that they will do so for the Olympic torch also.  God help the first person who's arrested for interfering.  They'll probably get ten years in prison as an example to anyone else foolish enough to go against the jackboots.

by creeper1014 2008-04-07 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: San Francisco

My office building is directly on the route of the Olympic torch and I plan on checking out the goings on. Maybe I can post a diary about it on Thursday.

by LandStander 2008-04-07 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olymp

The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan 'resistance' have been tools of the CIA for decades. Don't be fooled into getting distracted by another silly season non-issue.

http://edstrong.blog-city.com/china_tibe t_ciasponsored_uprising.htm

by John Seal 2008-04-07 01:12PM | 0 recs
I'll update once Senator Obama weighs in on the is

I see a trend here.

Clinton always leads and Obama follows her lead.

That is not leadership.

"Clinton/Obama is unbeatable"

President was right as usual.

by gotalife 2008-04-07 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: I'll update once Senator Obama

Try using more empty spaces and more sentence fragments next time.

by LandStander 2008-04-07 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I'll update once Senator Obama

Still waiting on his position?

Just follow her lead as usual Obama.

by gotalife 2008-04-07 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Call To Boycott Olympics

umm... who says any of you that agree with Hillary are right?

Unfortunately, and due to our resident idiot du jour, China owns are asses (sort of ).

They could pull the plug on the huge debt we owe and banks would literally spiral down the drain.

If her husband wouldn't have made such secret deals with them while he was president maybe they wouldn't be such the super power that they are now.

I think Obama may come out and oppose this idea of boycotting.  We need to continue bridging the gap and mending the fence with China and other places.  To cause division now is probably not the best idea, especially over something as trivial as Olympics.

What if the rest of the world stopped travelling to the USA in protest because we have been murdering Iraqis by the thousands?

by juang 2008-04-07 04:38PM | 0 recs

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