GOP Lawmakers: Genocide Olympics ‘Stain’ International Olympic Committee, Threaten Athletes

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping tours the National Speed Skating Oval, a competition venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics, in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Competition for the Winter Olympics is scheduled to begin on Feb. 4. (Shen Hong/Xinhua via AP)
Shen Hong/Xinhua via AP

The Olympics occurring in a “genocidal state” will leave a “permanent stain on the legacy of Beijing 2022 and the International Olympic Committee,” according to a letter penned by House Republicans and addressed to U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Board Chair Susanne Lyons. 

The letter, signed by House GOP’s China Task Force members, warns of threats posed to American athletes while in Beijing and urges for measures intended to protect them, including informing them about the “gross human rights abuses, including genocide” committed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).   

The letter dated January 26 was publicized by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in a Wednesday tweet:

The letter begins:

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will be the first Olympic games to take place in a country that is conducting an ongoing genocide. Therefore, these games are an unprecedented threat to American values, inalienable human rights, and the spirit of the Olympics. 

The letter also highlights the importance of preparing participating American Olympians by informing them of the range of China’s human rights abuses. The letter continues:

It is vital that our athletes arrive fully informed about the reality of the genocide occurring in China, as well as the broad range of other human rights abuses and malign actions committed by the Chinese government and Communist Party. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has a responsibility to ensure our athletes are prepared for these unprecedented Olympic games.

“The abhorrent reality of the Olympics occurring in a genocidal state will leave a permanent stain on the legacy of Beijing 2022 and the International Olympic Committee,” it added.

Noting the grave abuses suffered by over a million Uyghurs and members of other religious and ethnic minorities, the letter called upon the USOPC to “ensure our athletes know that Congress and the Administration have designated the Chinese Communist Party’s crimes against Uyghurs as genocide, a term the U.S. government reserves for history’s most grave human rights atrocities.” 

The letter also expressed concerns over the American delegation to Beijing being “unprepared for personal security risks, particularly for individuals who exercise their freedom of speech”:

The ‘closed loop management system’ enforced by the Beijing Organizing Committee — allegedly in response to the pandemic — will give the Chinese government an unprecedented level of control over international athletes, while at the same time hindering access by the U.S. State Department. 

It also expressed caution regarding the CCP’s “pervasive surveillance” of residents and visitors, as well as “major threats of arbitrary detention” for private messages critical of the government, and a general “lack of due process.” 

Demanding an explanation of what efforts would be taken to “keep American participants safe if they choose to exercise their freedom of speech,” the letter concludes by urging “in the strongest terms” that Team USA be “fully informed about the human rights situation in China, including its ongoing genocide.” 

Read the full letter here.

GOP members who signed the letter include China Task Force Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The world’s premier watchdog organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), details in a 2018 report that China “dramatically stepped up repression and systematic abuses against the 13 million Turkic Muslims, including Uyghurs and ethnic Kazakhs, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.”

“Authorities have carried out mass arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment of some of them in various detention facilities, and increasingly imposed pervasive controls on daily life,” the group wrote. 

The report continued:

New regulations in Tibet now criminalize even traditional forms of social action, including community mediation by religious figures. In Hong Kong, a region promised ‘a high degree of autonomy’ under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the Chinese and Hong Kong governments hastened their efforts in 2018 to undermine people’s rights to free speech and political participation.

The organization also cited China’s oppression of homosexuals, refugees, asylum seekers, women, and girls.

Last month, Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) blasted American corporate sponsorship of the upcoming “genocide” Olympics, accusing supporting companies of hypocritically preaching social justice while “cower[ing] to authoritarians.”

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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