WASHINGTON (KFOR) – Just two weeks before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are set to open, Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a resolution calling on the International Olympic Committee to relocate the Games “in response to the refusal of the People’s Republic of China to end its egregious human rights abuses, including genocide, forced labor, and crimes against humanity.”
China’s treatment of its Muslim-majority Uyghur people and policies toward Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan have come under increased scrutiny ahead of the Olympics.
China has been internationally criticized for its treatment of Uyghurs, an ethnic minority in China’s northwest Xinjiang region, most of whom are Muslim. Uyghur women have been sterilized and an estimated 1 million Uyghurs have been sent to “re-education” camps or sent away from their homes and families in Xinjiang to work in labor camps.
“When our athletes are being instructed to leave their cellphones in the United States before heading to China, and we still do not know the wellbeing of tennis star Peng Shaui, we have a responsibility to question why the Olympic Committee is allowing China to host the 2022 Winter Olympic games,” said Lankford. “What’s more embarrassing is that we’re allowing the Chinese Communist Party to profit off of the games when it is responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity. Our athletes have trained, worked, and dedicated their lives to representing our nation. American Olympic athletes should not be punished or put in harm’s way while competing in this historic event. I’m calling on the Olympic Committee to relocate the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games to another host country.”
The United States will stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing to protest Chinese human rights abuses, the White House confirmed in December.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said U.S. athletes will continue to compete and will “have our full support,” but added “we will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.”