PRESS RELEASE

Capuano Files Resolution Calling on President Bush to Boycott Olympics Opening Ceremony Due to China's Inaction on Darfur

April 9, 2008

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Mike Capuano, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Sudan Caucus, filed a resolution calling on President Bush to boycott the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing unless China takes stronger action against the Sudanese government's genocide in Darfur.

"More than 450,000 have lost their lives from violent attacks, disease or starvation and 2.8 million more displaced in this campaign of murder and devastation at the hands of the Sudanese government. Instead of denouncing these atrocities, China continues its relationship with Sudan, effectively turning a blind eye to the suffering and death," stated Congressman Capuano.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for a joint African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force, UNAMID, of 26,000 with a mandate to take necessary actions to protect civilians, its personnel, and humanitarian workers.

Despite this resolution, the Government of Sudan is actively slowing troop deployment and only an estimated 9,200 UNAMID troops are on the ground. In January, Sudanese forces went so far as to attack a UNAMID convoy.

The People's Republic of China is Sudan's principal supplier of weapons and weapons technology. Between 60 and 70 percent of Sudan's total oil production is exported to China, Sudan's most important economic trading partner. In fact, according to the 2006 CIA Factbook, China accounts for approximately 31 percent of Sudan's exports.

"In short, China is openly supporting a government that is openly engaging in genocide," stated Congressman Capuano.

The resolution states in part that: "China has not in any meaningful way used its relative economic or diplomatic influence with Sudan to force the Government to abandon its policy of genocide in Darfur."

It calls on the President not to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing until

  1. China persuades Sudan to end violent attacks in Darfur and allow for the full deployment of UNAMID; and
  2. China takes steps to stop arms sales to Sudan.

"Although President Bush and I don't agree on much, his words have been on target when it comes to Sudan, including an acknowledgement that genocide is occurring. I hope he will do the right thing and decline to attend the Opening Ceremony in Beijing. This will send a message to China and the world that we must take every opportunity to speak out against human suffering," stated Congressman Capuano.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208