IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

McCain would shun Olympics without changes

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Thursday he would not attend the Olympics' opening in Beijing, if he were president, unless China made concessions toward Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
McCain 2008
Sen. John McCain, addresses the crowd during a town hall meeting Wednesday on April 9 in Westport, Conn. Mary Altaffer / AP
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Thursday he would not attend the Olympics' opening in Beijing, if he were president, unless China made concessions toward Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

But the likely Republican presidential nominee stopped short of joining Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in calling on President Bush to boycott the ceremonies.

"I would say right now it depends on Chinese behavior," McCain told ABC's "The View" television show. "Unless there is some progress with the Dalai Lama, including conversations with him, including stopping this brutal crackdown that we're seeing in Tibet, then I would make the decision not to go."

China has come under harsh criticism from Western governments for a bloody crackdown in Tibet. China is to host the Summer Olympics and President George W. Bush at this point plans to attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing.

Obama has said Bush should boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympics if China does not take steps to help stop genocide in Darfur and improve human rights in Tibet. Clinton has appealed to Bush not to attend the ceremonies.

McCain was asked what he would do if he were president.

"Unless they change something pretty quickly, I would not go to the opening ceremonies," the Arizona senator said. "You can't have a nation that's the world's superpower in many respects behave like this, in an oppressive and brutal fashion. So I think a message needs to be sent to the Chinese and a very strong one."