A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of China, citing humanitarian rights violations committed by Beijing against Hong Kong protesters and the detainment of more than 1 million ethnic Muslims.
Led by Sen. Rick Scott, Floridan Republican, the members unveiled legislation that urges the IOC to rebid the next winter games to a country “that recognizes and respects human rights.”
“The Olympic Games are an incredible opportunity to allow the world’s best athletes to represent their countries and unite our nations, and should not be hosted by one of the world’s worst human rights abusers,” Mr. Scott, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.
Sen. Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat and co-sponsor of the resolution, called for a rebid of the winter sporting event “unless Beijing changes course and addresses its violations of fundamental rights.”
“The International Olympic Committee need not wait until 2024 to place stronger emphasis on human rights,” he said.
In the resolution, the senators cited data compiled by the State Department that shows more than 1 million ethnic Muslims, including Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh, and Kyrgyz individuals, have been detained in as many as 1,200 ”vocational training centers” designed to erase ethnic and religious identities.
They also pointed to a 2019 Freedom House report that showed women, ethnic and religious minorities, and the LGBT community in China “have no opportunity to gain meaningful political representation and are barred from advancing their interests outside the formal structures of the Communist Party of China.”
Republican Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he sees “no reason to condone the Party’s actions by allowing the 2022 Winter Olympics to take place in Beijing,” and called on the IOC to “relocate the games to a country where the government respects the dignity and human rights of all people.”