Thanks Hillary & Barack, China Relents!

Thanks in part to activists' Olympics opening ceremony boycott campaign (supported by few on the 'left' blogosphere -- see Anti-Hillary Pseudo-Left Disappears Olympics Boycott), China has relented and agreed to meet with an aide to the Dalai Lama. Presidential politics-wise, thanks first to Hillary but also to Barack (see Obama joins Clinton on Boycott!) for helping out by joining the opening ceremony threat. I hope the success of the open ceremonies boycott threat effort -- part of which (sorry, bama backers!) did involve pressuring Barack to join Hillary and create a united Democratic Party front, -- will teach us about how it's possible to get (not earthshaking but) real positive things done even (or ESPECIALLY) in the midst of a presidential political campaign. Nuff said, here's the news:


China says it's ready to meet with aide to Dalai Lama

BEIJING - China's government agreed Friday to a meeting with an envoy of exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, a step that follows weeks of calls from world leaders for dialogue in the wake of anti-government protests in Tibet. . . .

"In view of the requests repeatedly made by the Dalai side for resuming talks, the relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with Dalai's private representative in the coming days," the official Xinhua News Agency said, quoting an unidentified official. . . .

The Xinhua report said China had committed only to a meeting and appeared to attach routine conditions for opening a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, including a demand that he stop plotting for Tibet's independence "so as to create conditions for talks."


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Obama joins Clinton on Boycott!

The torch relay protests and his colleagues in Congress and who knows what else (but definitely NOT the do-nothing 'in the tank for Obama' pseudo-lefty blogosphere) has worked on Obama, and he got right on the "boycott the opening ceremonies" issue late yesterday:

Obama Joins Clinton in Calling for Bush to Boycott Olympics' Opening Ceremonies
by FOXNews.com
Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Barack Obama joined Hillary Clinton Wednesday in calling on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing if human rights conditions do not improve. . . .

Earlier Wednesday, Obama spokesman Bill Burton told FOX News Obama disagreed with Clinton's call for a Bush boycott, arguing it deprived the president of using that threat as leverage in private discussions with the Chinese on repression in Tibet and support of the Sudanese government.

Obama said Monday he is "deeply disturbed by the recent events in Tibet," but at the time did not call on Bush to boycott the games.

"The Chinese government must take immediate steps to respect the dignity, security, human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people, to provide foreign press and diplomats with access to the region and to finally work with the Dalai Lama toward meaningful autonomy for Tibet. If they do not, there should be consequences," he said.

Here is Obama's full statement:

If the Chinese do not take steps to help stop the genocide in Darfur and to respect the dignity, security, and human rights of the Tibetan people, then the President should boycott the opening ceremonies. As I have communicated in public and to the President, it is past time for China to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people, to allow foreign journalists and diplomats access to the region, and to engage the Dalai Lama in meaningful talks about the future of Tibet. I am also deeply concerned about China's failure to support efforts to halt the genocide in Darfur. Regarding the Beijing Olympics this summer, a boycott of the opening ceremonies should be firmly on the table, but this decision should be made closer to the Games.

This is the same as Clinton:

4/7/2008
Statement by Hillary Clinton on Olympics

. . . 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. . . .

Which makes headlines like the following wrong:

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UPDATE "It's very hard to tell your banker that he's wrong,"

As Chicago Bids for Games, Obama Ducks Olympics Criticism

April 09, 2008 3:25 PM

ABC News' Sunlen Miller Reports: Barack Obama doesn't seem to want to talk about the Olympics or Senator Clinton's call for a boycott of the opening ceremonies on August 8, 2008.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/ 2008/04/as-chicago-bids.html


At a town hall in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Obama, D-Ill., was asked about U.S. policy toward Tibet and Darfur, especially in light of the forthcoming Olympics in Beijing this summer.

Obama has not followed Clinton's lead in calling for an opening ceremony boycott to protest China's human rights abuses in Tibet and Darfur.

"It's very hard to tell your banker that he's wrong," Obama said, after talking about the need to restore America's stance in the world, "And if we are running huge deficits and big national debts and we're borrowing money constantly from China, that gives us less leverage. It give us less leverage to talk about human rights, it also is giving us less leverage to talk about the uneven trading relationship that we have with China."

Obama never once mentioned the Olympic Games in his response.

He did say the United States has not been "consistent enough and tough enough" toward "pushing (China) to deal with Tibet properly."

This is the man people want as leader of the Free World!

Can he not make one decent decision on something as no-brainer as demanding that Bush boycott the opening ceremony this summer?

The article continues with a possible explanation for hsi refusal to take a stand.  It might not be good for his home town.  It might be bad for his backers in Chicago.

In a paper statement released on Monday, Obama said there "should be consequences" if the Chinese government does not take immediate steps to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people.

In reference to Sudan, Obama sounded a similar note, asserting, "We have to take a stronger stance. We have to take a stronger stance and it's got to be more consistent over time."

The junior Senator from Illinois has a particularly tricky balancing act when it comes to the subject of the Olympics: Chicago is vying to host the 2016 games and one of Obama's top campaign advisors and close friends, Valerie Jarrett, is the vice chair of Chicago's bid committee.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has forcefully demanded that Bush stay away from the games.


http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/ 2008/04/hillary-clinton.html

On Monday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, called for President George W. Bush to refrain from personally participating in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics to protest China's record on human rights.

UPDATE: The same reporter who reported on Onama's earlier no decision now has this. Obama Says Bush Should Boycott Olympics If.... ABC News
April 09, 2008 7:02 PM ABC News' Sunlen Miller Reports: In his strongest language to date about the Olympics, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said that President Bush should boycott the opening ceremonies of if the Chinese do not take steps to stop the genocide in Darfur and respect the human rights of Tibetan people. Regarding the full Olympic games this summer, Obama says a decision to boycott the opening ceremonies would be on the table but should be made close to the start of the games. "As I have communicated in public and to the President, it is past time for China to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people, to allow foreign journalists and diplomats access to the region, and to engage the Dalai Lama in meaningful talks about the future of Tibet," Obama said in a statement. The Democratic presidential frontrunner had seemed to want to avoid talking about the Olympics and Sen. Hillary Clinton's call for a boycott of the Olympics opening ceremonies on August 8, 2008. The junior Senator from Illinois has a particularly tricky balancing act when it comes to the subject of the Olympics: Chicago is vying to host the 2016 games and one of Obama's top campaign advisors and close friends, Valerie Jarrett, is the vice chair of Chicago's bid committee. Here is Obama's full statement: "If the Chinese do not take steps to help stop the genocide in Darfur and to respect the dignity, security, and human rights of the Tibetan people, then the President should boycott the opening ceremonies. As I have communicated in public and to the President, it is past time for China to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people, to allow foreign journalists and diplomats access to the region, and to engage the Dalai Lama in meaningful talks about the future of Tibet. I am also deeply concerned about China's failure to support efforts to halt the genocide in Darfur. Regarding the Beijing Olympics this summer, a boycott of the opening ceremonies should be firmly on the table, but this decision should be made closer to the Games."
Methinks Obama get some poll numbers that said we weren't happy in blogland. Once again I ask. This is the guy people want to be the leader of the free world?

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Anti-Hillary Pseudo-Left Disappears Olympics Boycott

And I often wonder, "If Dr. King were here, and Robert Kennedy were, what would they be doing?" So someone must continue to speak up and speak out, because they're not here.

Because Hillary Clinton took the lead in urging Pres. Bush to boycott the Olympics opening ceremonies, and because Barack Obama just can't follow her lead since Chicago 2016 means so much to his developer fat cats back in Chicago, the pseudo-left has decided to disappear the Olympics boycott movement in service to Barack Obama.

For example, here's everything on the Dailykos frontpage since Monday on Tibet and/or the Olympics:

. . .

Or check out Huffington Post. Here's the only thing (aside from a GG Bridge protest news note) on the front page:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
On the San Francisco Olympic Torch Relay
 
Posted April 8, 2008 | 05:08 PM (EST)

She tells people to be nice. She doesn't mention her and Clinton's call on Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies.

Here are the only two Olympics-related articles on the HuffPost politics front page:


David Wallechinsky
How to Protest the Beijing Olympics

Another 'be nice' article, it doesn't mention Clinton, or Obama's whimp out.

Adrienne Maree Brown
The Whole World is Screaming: Free Tibet

Doesn't mention Clinton or Obama.

Not a damn thing on alternet either.

As usual, a progressive campaign is disappeared if it's a negative for the fake progressive candidate. Anyone else think this reminds them of the pseudo-progressive stand down on Iraq during the Kerry campaign? Of course, in place of real progressivism, there are plenty of lies and other anti-Hillary gotcha crap available at both dkos and huffpost. Or is it anti-Bill-Clinton stuff that pseudo-prog readers, like their loony right sexist brethren, have been trained to think is anti-Hillary stuff?

The only good news on the "boycott the opening ceremonies" front is made by the very honorable John Lewis:

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Updated: Tutu, Gere Speak Out On Tibet, Nonviolence and George W. Bush

"We want to say to China, 'We thought that the Olympic Games would help you improve your human rights record," Tutu said. "We still hope... But what we are saying to the heads of state, to President George Bush, is, 'For goodness sake, don't go to the Beijing games... for the sake of our children, for the beautiful people of Tibet. Don't go!'"

link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg i?f=/c/a/2008/04/08/BAAS101V1O.DTL&t sp=1

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