U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Brian Leung denounced mainstream corporations for supporting Beijing’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics at a “#NoBeijing2022” rally on Thursday in Washington, DC, saying their sponsoring of the event equates to tacit approval of the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights violations.
Smith and Leung spoke in person at the demonstration on February 3, organized by the Victims of Communism Memorial Fund (VOC).
“Today we witness the complicity of many in corporate America, from Coca-Cola to NBC and so many others who are … [barely] mentioning these horrific crimes out of fear of a denial of access to to the markets in China,” Rep. Smith said at the event.
Though he spoke separately, Leung echoed the themes of Congressman Smith’s speech, similarly highlighting the significant corporate backing of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which launched on February 4 and will last through February 20.Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
“China wants to reap the benefit and reputation of being a major international player [by hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics],” he said Thursday.
“But [China] is not willing to abide by the standards and the rules of the world,” Leung continued.
“Instead, it [China] wants to silence and suppress international critics and buy off companies and countries who are willing to acquiesce,” he stated.
Leung is the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council, which supports pro-democracy activism in Hong Kong. The city has seen its limited freedoms increasingly encroached upon by the Chinese Communist Party over the past 18 months through the imposition of a “National Security Law” designed to stamp out a previously thriving pro-democracy movement. As the law was passed in Beijing, it is not legal to enforce it in Hong Kong under the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, but Hong Kong police have used it to repress dissidents, anyway.
In a summary of its February 3 “#NoBeijing2022” rally, the VOC said event participants had criticized the “top corporate sponsors” of the 2022 Winter Olympics “for failing to fulfill their human rights due diligence responsibilities and urged [them] to immediately disclose their human rights due diligence strategies or explain their failure to carry out such assessments.”
The human rights nonprofit named the Games’ mainstream sponsors as “Airbnb, Alibaba, Allianz, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, P&G, Samsung, Toyota, and Visa.”
The VOC said its rally in Washington, DC, on Thursday specifically aimed to “denounce the atrocities and grave human rights abuses being committed by the Chinese government” in China’s westernmost region of Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
“I have determined that the PRC [People’s Republic of China], under the direction and control of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a press statement on January 19, 2021.
Pompeo said he made the determination based on the documentation and review of crimes against humanity in Xinjiang committed by the Chinese Communist Party including, “the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians, forced sterilization, torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained, [and] forced labor.”