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U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

06/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/07/2021 16:10

Meeks, McCaul, Malinowski, and Gallagher Urge the International Olympic Committee to Consider Alternative Locations for 2022 Beijing Olympics

(Washington, DC) Today, Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-NY) an Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee ,and Mike Gallagher (R-WI), introduced a resolution urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Winter Games unless the Chinese government ends its ongoing crimes against the Uyghur people. Legislators in nine other countries - United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Lithuania, Italy, Czech Republic - and the EU Parliament took similar action today in a coordinated international effort to address the challenge posed by the IOC's decision to hold the Olympics in a country where a genocide is taking place.

The resolution introduced today in the US Congress urges the IOC to:

  • Publicly clarify its policies on association of the games with gross human rights violations, including by affirming that 'staying above politics' doesn't mean ignoring mass atrocities;
  • Initiate an emergency search process for alternative replacement facilities for the 2022 games should persecution of the Uyghurs and other grave abuses continue; and
  • Offer a public set of actionable recourses should the IOC note infringements on the freedom of expression during Olympics games.

The text of the resolution can be found here. Additional Members joining the resolution include Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Young Kim (R-CA).

'In the face of genocide, Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China are looking to the world for support. By turning a blind eye to the PRC's gross human rights violations in Xinjiang, the IOC is betraying its own charter and legitimizing the PRC's actions at a time when the international community should be lock-step in condemnation,' said Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Meeks.

'The CCP's genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities is the moral test of our time. By granting the CCP an opportunity to cover up its atrocities and improve its image on the global stage, the IOC is violating its own principles and tarnishing its own brand. I'm proud to stand with Members on both sides of aisle, alongside allies from other democratic countries, in holding the IOC and CCP accountable,' said Foreign Affairs Ranking Member McCaul.

'There's no such thing as non-political games-dictatorships like China host the Olympics to validate their standing as normal and respected countries even as they continue to commit crimes against their people,' said Foreign Affairs Committee Vice Chair Malinowski. 'Today's coordinated action by legislators in multiple democracies is a clear signal to the International Olympic Committee that we're fed up with its silence about China's ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs.'

'Authoritarian regimes have a long and troubling history of using the Olympics to whitewash their crimes and disseminate propaganda on a global scale. Given the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, it is unconscionable that the free world would proceed with the 2022 games with business as usual,' said Representative Gallagher. 'I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the U.S. and across the free world in pushing for action that respects the Chinese Communist Party's millions of victims, as well as the right to free expression of athletes and media worldwide.'

In May, Rep. Malinowski co-led a bipartisan bill with Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) pressing American corporate sponsors of the IOC to urge the international committee to move the games-and cutting off US government contracts to companies that continue to subsidize the games if they remain in Beijing. Chair Meeks and Ranking Member McCaul previously led a bipartisan bill pushing the State Department to urgently ensure American athletes are fully informed of ongoing human right abuses in China and risks to freedom of expression for athletes and participants in the 2022 Olympics. Ranking Member McCaul and Chair Meeks also led a bipartisan resolution that advanced through the House Foreign Affairs Committee condemning the ongoing abuses in Xinjiang as a genocide and urging urgent action by the United States government.

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