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Pelosi warns US athletes not to speak out against ‘ruthless’ Chinese Communist Party at Olympics

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 11, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 04, 2022

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) warned Team USA Olympic athletes not to speak out against the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses while they are at the Games in Beijing, saying to do so would “risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government” that she said is “ruthless.”

“Make no mistake — our athletes should participate,” Pelosi said. “They’ve trained, they’re disciplined, they’ve dreamed, they’ve aspired, they’ve worked hard. But this year we must celebrate them from home as they compete in China.”

“I would say to our athletes: You’re there to compete. Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government because they are ruthless,” she continued. “I know there is a temptation on the part of some to speak out while they are there. I respect that, but I also worry about what the Chinese government might do to their reputations and to their families.”

“So, again, participate, let us celebrate from abroad, and don’t risk thinking that there are any good intentions on the part of the People’s Republic of China’s government — because there are none,” Pelosi added.

While Pelosi advised athletes not to speak out against human rights abuses in China, she said it was the United States government’s “moral duty” to shed light on the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide.

“Over the next two weeks, it is our moral duty to shine a bright light on the many human rights violations being perpetrated by the host nation,” Pelosi said.

“Now the [International Olympic Committee], aided by corporate sponsors, once again turns a blind eye with the 2022 Winter Olympics, just to bolster their bottom line,” she continued. “If we do not speak out against human rights violations in China because of commercial interest, we lose all moral authority to speak out against human rights violations anywhere.”

“We wish all of the athletes well. We wish them safety — and that safety includes: Don’t for one moment believe what the Chinese government might tell you about freedom of expression. You take a risk. Be safe,” Pelosi concluded.

On Monday, the FBI urged Olympic athletes to leave their phones at home when they head to Beijing due to “potential threats” in China.

“The FBI warns Olympic participants and travelers of potential threats associated with mobile applications developed by untrusted vendors. The download and use of applications, including those required to participate or stay in country, could increase the opportunity for cyber actors to steal personal information or install tracking tools, malicious code, or malware1,” the FBI said in a statement. “The FBI urges all athletes to keep their personal cell phones at home and use a temporary phone while at the Games.”