U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized China’s human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
The top U.S. lawmaker, Nancy Pelosi, has called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, criticizing China for human rights abuses and saying that world leaders who attend would lose their moral authority.
U.S. lawmakers have been increasingly vocal about one Olympic boycott or change of location.
They have also attacked U.S. corporations, arguing their silence on what the U.S. Department of State has considered genocide against Uighur and other ethnic minorities in China incited the Chinese government.
Pelosi, a Democrat, told a bipartisan congressional hearing Tuesday on the issue that heads of state around the world should shy away from the games, scheduled for February.
Pelosi said he was proposing “a diplomatic boycott” in which “the world’s leading countries withheld their attendance at the Olympics.”
“We don’t honor the Chinese government for the heads of state to go to China,” Pelosi said.
“For heads of state to go to China in the light of an ongoing genocide – while you are sitting in your seat – the question really arises, what moral authority should you talk about human rights again in any place in the world ?? ”she said.
An independent UN group said in 2018 that it had received credible reports that at least one million Uighurs and other Muslims had been detained in camps in the Xinjiang region of western China. Beijing describes the camps as vocational training centers that seek to eradicate “extremism” and firmly rejects the allegations of abuse and genocide.
Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern said the games should be relocated.
“If we can postpone the Olympics for a year for a pandemic, we can surely postpone the Olympics for a year for genocide,” McGovern said, referring to Japan and the International Olympic Committee’s decision to delay the Summer Games. of 2020 in Tokyo due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This would give the IOC time to move to a country whose government does not commit atrocities,” McGovern said.
Demand for some form of boycott of the Beijing Games is growing in the United States.
Last month, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney tabled an amendment to broader legislation to counter China that would implement a U.S. diplomatic boycott, while a coalition of human rights activists on Tuesday called on athletes to boycott the games. and press the IOC.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has said it hopes to develop a joint approach with allies on participation in the Beijing Olympics, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly said the issue is not yet clear. ‘has addressed in the discussions.
Asked about Pelosi’s comments, a senior Biden administration official told Reuters news agency that his position on the 2022 Olympics had not changed.
Biden, also a Democrat, has said China is the U.S.’s strategic competitor.
Proponents of U.S. athletes competing in the Olympics say it would be unfair to punish athletes and that the games would provide a platform for the United States, which has one of the highest winter Olympic medal rewards, to show its vitality on the world stage.
Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), said in a written statement to the congressional hearing that the USOPC was concerned about the “oppression of the Uyghur population,” but that it banned athletes. American games “certainly wasn’t the answer.”
“Previous Olympic boycotts have not reached political ends, and they should leave us all with a pause to consider another boycott,” he said.