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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Obama says to put boycott of Olympic opening ceremonies on the table

April 11, 2008

Lynn Sweet
STING Sun-Times News Group
April 9, 2008

LAUREL, MD. -­ Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Wednesday called for
President Bush to consider a boycott of the opening ceremonies of the
summer Olympic games if the Chinese don’t take steps on Tibet and Darfur.

Obama had been considering how to respond to the question of whether
Bush should boycott the opening ceremonies for several days. Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said Bush should not go. The White House
seems to be keeping its options open. Chicago is making a bid for the
2016 games and any kind of a boycott has the potential of eroding the
city’s bid with the International Olympic committee.

Statement from Senator Obama on the Olympics: "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.”
Earlier on Wednesday, during a town hall meeting in Malvern, Pa., asked
about what policy should be regarding the Olympic and Darfur and Sudan,
Obama said “we have to take a stronger stance” when it comes to China.

“In our policy towards China, we have not been consistent enough and
tough enough and pushing them to deal with Tibet properly, but also
their continued support of Sudan, a country that has been engaging in
genocide against the peoples of Darfur.

We have to take a stronger stance. We have to take a stronger stance and
it's got to be more consistent over time. Let me make one last point
about China, its very hard to tell your banker that he's wrong, alright?
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.

We should want to encourage trade with China , there's nothing wrong
with that and we want the standard of living of the people in China to
improve, but if they're devaluing their currency to make their goods
cheaper and our goods more expensive and we're not challenging them, if
they're stealing our intellectual property, our copyrights and we don't
say anything about it, we don't take them before the World Trade
Organization, if they're dumping cheap steel or cheap goods into this
country because they're subsidized by the Chinese government and we're
not challenging them - that's just not fair. And it's not right and it's
going to undermine our economic position over the long term.”
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