Momentum Grows in Congress to Boycott Beijing Olympics

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February 24, 2021

Momentum is building among members of Congress to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

A new House resolution, introduced Wednesday by Reps. Michael Waltz (R., Fla.), John Katko (R., N.Y.), and Guy Reschenthaler (R., Penn.), calls for the United States to lead an international effort to walk away from the games unless they are relocated from China. Waltz said that the bill intends to spare the nation no quarter for its human rights abuses and genocidal practices in Xinjiang.

"By jointly introducing this resolution, we are holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for their heinous acts that include their ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, crackdown on the democratic rights of Hong Kong, suppression of religious freedom, and coverup of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan," Waltz said. "Since the IOC has refused to move the games, we have no choice but to call for a Boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing to send a clear message to the CCP that the world will not reward their atrocious and reckless behavior by giving them a prominent international platform."

The bill joins a growing chorus from congressional Republicans demanding that the Biden administration take action on the 2022 Olympics. This week, House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Tex.) introduced a resolution aiming to inform athletes before the Olympics of the ongoing crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party against religious and political minorities. Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.) also introduced a bill earlier this month which blasted China for its human rights abuses and called for moving the 2022 Olympics to another country. 

The United States isn't the only nation weighing the decision. This week, Canada’s parliament unanimously voted to declare the use of concentration camps on Uighur Muslims in western China a genocide, opening the door to action from members of parliament to organize a Canadian boycott of the Olympics. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, neglected to vote on the resolution and has expressed hesitation in calling the ongoing crimes in Xinjiang a genocide.

American authorities have been forthright about the genocide in Xinjiang. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo officially declared the actions against Uighurs a genocide in the final days of the Trump administration, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly said that the Biden administration will carry on the designation. 

Press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month that the Biden administration has not discussed boycotting the Beijing Olympics.