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Clinton asks Bush to boycott Olympic opening

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has asked President George W Bush to boycott the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony to press the communist giant over Tibet and Darfur.

world Updated: Apr 08, 2008 10:20 IST

Charging the White House with downplaying human rights violations by China, Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has asked President George W Bush to boycott the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony to press the communist giant over Tibet and Darfur.

"I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government," the Democratic Senator for New York said.

Her statement came as pro-Tibetan activists began protests in San Francisco where the Olympic torch was due to arrive after a chaotic journey through Paris and London.

Three demonstrators scaled the landmark Golden Gate Bridge unfurling a giant banner reading "One World, One Dream" and "Free Tibet 08". San Francisco is the only stop in the United States for the torch which is being taken to Beijing.

In an apparent attempt to appear tough, Clinton went beyond other democrats in demanding boycott of the opening ceremony, citing violent clashes in Tibet and failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the "genocide" in Darfur.

"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," she said.

But Clinton also urged the Chinese to take advantage of this moment as an "opportunity to live up to universal human rights aspiration of respect for human rights and unity, ideals that the Olympic Games have come to represent."