Leading US Politician Calls for Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing 2022
24th May 2021
Last modified on May 27th, 2021
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is urging the US government not to attend the Winter Olympics in China next year.
It’s the latest in a series of calls for a boycott made by individuals and groups concerned about human rights abuses in China.
The Beijing Games are due to take place from 4th to 20th February 2022 with the Paralympics from 4th to 13th March.
“For heads of state to go to China in light of a genocide that is ongoing – while you’re sitting there in your seat – really begs the question, what moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world?” Nancy Pelosi said during a Congressional hearing.
At the same hearing, the Republican Chris Smith said corporate sponsors should be held to account by being forced to testify in Congress.
Democrat Jim McGovern said the Games should be postponed to give the International Olympic Committee time to find a replacement.
The growing calls for a boycott cite repression by the Chinese government against Uyghur Muslims and minorities in Tibet and the clampdown on democracy in Hong Kong.
In the UK the former Conservative Party leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, has called for a boycott.
He is among the co-chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, with politicians from 16 countries and two representatives from the European Parliament.
He has accused China of being “dictatorial, aggressive and intolerant”.
In March, he was one of five MPs on whom China imposed sanctions for spreading ‘lies and disinformation’.
Sir Iain responded by saying he would wear the sanctions as a badge of honour.
Most of the calls being made are for a political boycott, however, a coalition of Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others wants a full boycott with countries refusing to the attend the event.
‘Boycott Beijing 2022’ released a statement asking all National Olympic Committees and athletes to support the boycott.
“Participating in the Beijing Olympic Games at this time would be tantamount to endorsing China’s genocide against the Uyghur people, and legitimizing the increasingly repressive policies of the totalitarian Chinese regime,” it says.
“It is now up to the international community to take action. In particular, we believe athletes are people of conscience who have the power to use their platforms to stop injustice. We call on them, and those who believe in the right of all people to exist and to live free from fear and oppression, to join our movement. Together we will stand against genocide and crimes against humanity and take action for democracy, freedom and human rights.”
The International Olympic Committee has always said it remains neutral and will not get involved in politics.
Others opposed to sporting boycotts say they are ineffective and hurt only the athletes unable to represent their countries.
China denies it is guilty of human rights abuses.