Ed. Note – Well I was going to go off on a rant about how Clinton is using this as a bit of subterfuge surrounding the embellishments she’s recently been caught up in, but I’ll leave it at that and thank her for making this “heartfelt” statement.
From FoxNews – Hillary Clinton is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing this summer.
Clinton said Monday that the recent violence in Tibet as well as the Chinese government’s support for Sudan, whose leaders she said are committing genocide in Darfur, demonstrate that China is not fit to host the Summer Games.
“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,” Clinton said in a written statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several other House lawmakers had previously urged Bush to skip the opening ceremonies. On Monday, security officials canceled the final run of the Olympic torch in Paris after chaotic protests in which demonstrators succeeded several times in snuffing out the flame. The extinguished torch relay continued by bus.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Monday that Bush still plans to attend the opening ceremonies.
Last month, Press Secretary Dana Perino said the ceremonies would give the president a chance to speak freely with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
“If you look back to some of the things he’s said before, that it — on a trip like that, he would make it a priority to have a meeting and a conversation with President Hu, which is something, again, that I said that he as a head of state is able to do, that other people aren’t able to do,” Perino said on March 20. “And then as it pertains to the Olympics, certainly the president wants to make sure that our athletes have a really good experience.”
Much of the protests and violence surrounding the torch’s 85,000-mile journey and China’s hosting of the games is in response to the communist country’s treatment of Tibet, which it invaded in 1950. The Chinese military have cracked down on Buddhist monks trying to use the upcoming Olympics to draw attention to their plight.
Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, said the disruption of the torch’s route is an “act of defiance” from a small group.
“It will definitely be criticized by people who love peace and adore the Olympic spirit. Their attempt is doomed to failure,” Sun said.
Clinton said the Chinese could use the games as an opening to “live up to universal human aspirations of respect for human rights and unity, ideals that the Olympic games have come to represent.”
Her opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama, said recently that he was conflicted about whether the U.S. should fully participate.
The threat of a presidential boycott could be a symbolic slight to China, which takes face and respect for itself very seriously. But it also could do damage to relations with a country that has huge investments in the U.S. and that generates massive exports here.
“I don’t know whether or not President Bush should go to the games, but the games should go on. The last time we boycotted an Olympics in 1980, it didn’t exactly turn out well,” said Linda Chavez, head of the Center for Equal Opportunity and a FOX News contributor.
The United States and several other nations boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, only to have 14 nations boycott the games in Los Angeles four years later.
The torch relay also is expected to face demonstrations in San Francisco, New Delhi and possibly elsewhere on its 21-stop, six-continent tour before arriving in mainland China May 4. On Monday, protesters scaled the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to unfurl two banners reading “Free Tibet” and “One World One Dream,” in support of Tibet.