The Democratic President of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, called on Tuesday for a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, with the aim of denouncing human rights violations in China.
“We cannot pretend that everything is okay with the organization of the Olympic Games in China,” Pelosi said at a hearing devoted to human rights and Beijing, at a time when calls are continuing in the United States to boycott the Olympic Games.
Pelosi added, “Unfortunately, we are here because China continues to crush political opposition,” arguing that the United States must “condemn human rights violations in China.”
“Let us make a diplomatic boycott if the Olympic Games are held,” she said, adding, “Let us not give the Chinese government the honor to receive heads of state.”
She added that the presence of world leaders in China «while the genocide is under way (…) raises a question: What moral authority will you have to talk about human rights everywhere in the world?».
Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games.
During this session, activists to defend human lefts condemned the suppression of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and political opponents in Hong Kong.
Samuel Shaw of the Democratic Council of Hong Kong, the organization based in the United States, said that organizing the Olympics gives repressive regimes an opportunity “to erase their crimes, improve their image abroad and strengthen their alliances.” He called on the International Olympic Committee to “do what it did not do and refused to do in the past, which is to prevent China from participating in major events and from organizing them altogether.”
Rayhan Assat, who is a Uighur descent, and his brother is currently detained in a concentration camp, said that supporting the 2022 Olympic Games “suggests that we deny the suffering of the Uighur people.”
For her part, the Director-General of the American Olympic Committee, Sarah Herschland, called for not to boycott the Olympics, explaining that it is important in the circumstances of the end of the “Covid-19” epidemic.
In a letter to the committee, she emphasized that “the world spent more than a year isolated and anxious,” stressing that seeing “thousands of athletes coming from all over the world in front of the Olympic torch will be a moment of rebirth after the difficulties of last year.”
“We are concerned about the situation in China,” she said, but said that boycotting a sporting event “is not the solution to geopolitical problems.”
“Boycotting the 1980 and 1984 Olympics posed a stain in the history of the Olympic Games, and revealed that the Games’ use is a wrong political tool,” Herschland said.