ABC News’ Eloise Harper Reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is calling on President George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremony at the Olympics this summer.
First reported on the Drudge Report, Clinton’s call for a boycott specifically cites China’s reaction to recent violence in Tibet and inaction in Darfur.
"The violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur are opportunities for Presidential leadership," Clinton said in a written statement.
"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."
Set to begin on August 8, 2008, the Beijing Olympics have been surrounded by controversy ever since the International Olympic Committee awarded China the Games.
The harsh crackdown by the communist nation against recent protests in Tibet have only intensified calls for boycott.
Clinton did not call for an outright boycott of the Olympics in general, targeting only the Opening Ceremony.
"Americans will stand strong in support of freedom of religious and political expression and human rights. Americans will also stand strong and root for the success of American athletes who have worked hard and earned the right to compete in the Olympic Games of 2008," she said.
Clinton’s call makes her the first presidential candidate to call for an outright boycott of the opening ceremonies although other prominent U.S. politicians including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have urged Bush to consider such action.
"I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table," Pelosi, D-Calif., told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts in a recent interview. "I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will not attend the Olympic Games. Pelosi, meanwhile, has been outspoken in support of Tibet, the site of recent crackdowns on human rights demonstrators by the Chinese government.
In her interview with "GMA", the Speaker continued to denounce China’s rule over Tibet and expressed regret that the communist nation would play host to the summer games.
"I don’t think China should have gotten the Olympic Games to begin with," Pelosi told GMA. "I had a resolution in the Congress which was very popular, and bipartisan support on it. But they did get them with the promise that they would open up more and have better respect for human rights and freedom of expression. They have not honored that."