In less than a year, the 2022 Winter Olympics will begin in Beijing, China. As the world emerges from the global war against a virus and responses to it that cost lives, jobs, and livelihoods, the time is ripe for athletes to come together to celebrate human achievement, perseverance, and grit.
The Olympic Charter outlines the Fundamental Principles of Olympism. The first principle clearly states the objective of the games: “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
The Chinese Communist Party is an insult to this mission. So these games must not be hosted in China for the benefit of its communist dictatorship. The CCP lied about, covered up, and silenced doctors and journalists about the emergence of COVID-19. It was the CCP’s deceit, self-interest, and irresponsibility that caused the virus to be unleashed on the world.
Moreover, the CCP has imprisoned up to 1.8 million Uighurs and other religious and ethnic minorities in internment camps in Xinjiang. These detainees are subject to slave labor, political indoctrination, rape, torture, forced sterilization, forced abortion, and involuntary birth control.
The extent of these atrocities is irrefutable, and America’s position on this devastating issue is clear. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo determined the CCP is committing genocide in Xinjiang – and the new secretary of state, Tony Blinken, agreed with this determination.
Since 2017, the U.S. State Department has also determined in its Trafficking in Persons Report that communist China falls under a “Tier 3” designation — the most severe category of trafficking activity, defined as “countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”
Additionally, despite massive demonstrations with international support, the CCP eliminated Hong Kong’s autonomy, eradicated freedom for the people of Hong Kong, and arrested and silenced pro-democracy advocates. The sweeping National Security Law passed in Beijing last year brought Hong Kong further under the control of the CCP and forced Hong Kongers to flee their homes to seek asylum abroad.
The CCP has also worked to stamp out religion in China and “Sinicize” religious doctrine. Church leaders, nuns, and congregation members have been arrested. Crosses have been removed from churches while other churches have been destroyed. Religious displays have been replaced with portraits of Xi Jinping. Bible sales have been restricted, while censors have removed “Jesus” and “Christ” from religious publications.
Considering these examples, how can the International Olympic Committee believe that the CCP is showing “respect for universal fundamental ethical principles” in the treatment of the Uyghurs, trafficking victims, Hong Kongers, and religious believers? The Olympic Charter goes on to state as part of its Fundamental Principles that the “practice of sport is a human right.” But what about the human rights to freedom, safety, due process, and religious expression?
The U.S. House of Representatives (under the leadership of Rep. Michael Waltz) has written a resolution calling on the U.S. Olympic Committee to propose moving the 2022 Winter games out of communist China. As a last resort, if the International Olympic Committee does not change the location, the resolution proposes the United States — along with other countries that value human rights and freedom — withdraw from the games.
The call to move or boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic games is not a political or partisan issue. The United States is not alone in proposing that the U.S. Olympic Committee or the IOC take action.
In the United Kingdom, senior political officials have called for the British Olympic Association to press to move the games or boycott the competition. Also in Australia, Canada, and Germany, political leaders are debating the issue. Furthermore, a coalition of 180 human rights groups from around the world signed a letter calling for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
Liberal democracies are pushing for the relocation of the games, and the IOC should take notice. A boycott would greatly impact the outcome of the competition. A total of 748 of the 1,060 gold medals in the past 23 Winter Olympic games have been won by athletes from 10 countries (nine if you combine Russia and the USSR). The eight remaining countries — the United States, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany — are liberal democracies.
The international community must not ignore the atrocities taking place in communist China by handing over the prestige of a global podium and profits to a country that is violently oppressing its people. Athletes should not have to choose between their conscience and their craft. The recent move by the Canadian parliament declaring that China is conducting genocide and opening the door to move the Olympic games from Beijing is a great first step.
Countries seeking to protect human rights, preserve the integrity of the games, and celebrate the achievements of national athletes should jointly call for the 2022 Olympics to be moved to a location outside of communist China.