House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics Tuesday due to human rights violations committed by the communist Chinese government, but refrained from advocating for a full boycott.
“We cannot proceed as if nothing is wrong about the Olympics going to China,” the speaker said during a joint virtual hearing titled “China, Genocide and the Olympics” with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
“Honor your athletes at home. Let’s have a diplomatic boycott if, in fact, this Olympics takes place,” Pelosi said. “Silence is inexcusable.”
The speaker also said that it is “sad” that Olympic corporate sponsors opt to “look the other way” when it comes to China’s human rights abuses in order to protect “their bottom line.”
The Beijing Olympics are set to begin on Feb 4, 2022. Over the last year, human rights groups have urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the games out of China on several occasions, ABC News reported.
During the hearing, Human Rights Commission co-chair Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said the “IOC and all interested parties including the United States to find a new host city —or boycott.”
“President Xi Jinping, the man who pushed the International Olympic Committee in 2015 to award China as the venue for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, is the same man who—at about the same time— planned and now continues committing genocide and crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other Central Asian ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang,” Smith wrote in his remarks.
“In granting Beijing host status for the Olympic Games, we are crowning a barbarous regime with laurels while we should be condemning their abuse and genocide,” he later added.
Last month, President Joe Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned China’s acts of genocide against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, adding that the U.S. stands “resolutely against” the the communist country’s “egregious” human rights violations, Forbes reported.
“We need to be able to bring the world together in speaking with one voice in condemning what has taken place and what continues to take place… and we also have to make sure that we are dealing with all of our interests,” Blinken said. “We have to be able to deal with China on areas where those interests are implicated and require working with China, even as we stand resolutely against egregious violations of human rights or in this case, acts of genocide.”