President Bush plans to attend opening of Beijing Olympics
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Human rights groups have appealed to Bush not to attend the Olympics, citing the Chinese government's crackdown on Tibetan protesters as evidence of human rights abuse. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus have said they will boycott the opening ceremony as a political protest. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says that he will not attend the opening, but he will be at the closing.
U.S. senator and former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was among a group of senators who sent Bush a letter urging him not to attend the Olympics. Presumptive Presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain have also weighed in. Obama wants Bush to boycott the ceremony if China doesn't respect human rights in Tibet and pressure Sudan on the violence in Darfur, while McCain has said that if he were President, he wouldn't attend.
Representatives of the Chinese government have begun talks with the Dalai Lama to ease tension between China and Tibet. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said earlier this week that his attendance at the Olympics will depend on the outcome of these talks.
However, Bush has previously said that he would go to the Olympics to support American athletes, not to make a political statement. "He sees this as a sporting competition," said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. "But at the same time, just as he will this week when he sees President Hu, he will talk to him about these important issues of human rights and especially religious freedom."
- Press Release: "President and Mrs. Bush to Travel to the Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Thailand, and People's Republic of China" — , July 3, 2008
- Press Release: "Press Briefing by Dana Perino" — , July 3, 2008
- "Bush will attend opening of Beijing Olympics" — , July 3, 2008
- "Bush will attend Beijing Olympics opening ceremony" — , July 3, 2008
- Holly Rosenkrantz. "Bush Likely to Attend Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Aide Says" — , July 3, 2008