Hillary Clinton Calls On Bush To Boycott Olympic Opening Ceremonies
by Todd Beeton, Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 10:21:35 AM EDT
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.