Pelosi calls for ‘diplomatic boycott’ of 2022 Chinese Olympics on human rights grounds
A Chinese man wears a protective mask as he walks past the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games logos at the National Swimming Center on April 9, 2021 in Beijing, China.
Lintao Zhang | Getty Images
House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., On Tuesday called for a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in response to China’s human rights record.
“We can’t pretend nothing has happened about the Olympics going to China,” Pelosi told the Congressional Human Rights Commission and the Congressional Executive Committee on China at a hearing on the games.
Pelosi suggested in his remarks that athletes should still be able to participate in the games, but world leaders and royalty should not travel to attend in person.
“The fact that heads of state are going to China, in light of a genocide that is going on while you are sitting there in your seats, really raises the question: what moral authority do you have to talk about rights? of man anywhere in the world if you are ready to pay homage to the Chinese government as it commits genocide? “
Pelosi slammed the corporate sponsors of the games for “looking the other way at China’s abuse for the sake of their bottom line.” She specifically called companies that pressured to weaken parts of a bipartisan bill targeting the use of forced labor in the Xinjiang region.
“If we don’t speak out against human rights violations in China for business reasons, we lose all moral authority to defend human rights anywhere,” Pelosi said.
The games are scheduled to open on February 4, 2022.
Pelosi admitted that his diplomatic boycott plan might not work. “I don’t know if it’s possible, because we haven’t been successful in the past,” she said.
In 2008, Pelosi called on President George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics to protest China’s human rights record, which at the time was mainly marred by government crackdown in Tibet.
Bush attended the opening of these games, with over 80 other heads of state.
Activists and lawmakers from both parties have called on President Joe Biden to withdraw from the 2022 Olympics in protest. They cite China’s reported treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang – which the Trump and Biden administrations have called genocide – as well as Beijing’s response to protests in Hong Kong.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee has spoken out against boycotts, in part because they impact athletes who have spent years training to compete.
The White House previously left the door open to boycott, but press secretary Jen Psaki said last month that such a move was not to be discussed.
“While China has changed in 30 years in some ways, it is appalling that its human rights record has deteriorated,” Pelosi said during the virtual hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
Pelosi stressed that she is a dedicated fan of the Olympics and that she considers the performances of the athletes in the games to be a source of pride.
“Let’s pay homage to them at home,” Pelosi said. “Let’s not pay homage to the Chinese government by inviting heads of state to visit China to show their support for their athletes.”
“Silence on this issue is unacceptable. It allows abuse from China,” Pelosi said.