What Can Be Done Now About the ‘Genocide Olympics?’

 

The XXIV Winter Olympics open in Beijing, China, on February 4, less than 14 years since they hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. The torch relay began from Olympia, Greece, on October 18th. Residents of Xinjiang Province, home of gulags, re-education camps, and other forms of genocide against Uyghur Muslims, will miss out on it.

It didn’t have to be this way. When the International Olympic Committee voted in 2015, it had a choice. Beijing won out over Almaty, Khazakstan, by just four votes, 44-40, after Norway, the early favorite, withdrew their bid over embarrassing demands made by the IOC. It is the third consecutive Olympics held in Asia (the other two were Japan and South Korea).

Major sponsors include several prominent US companies, including consumer goods giant Procter and Gamble, computer chip maker Intel, Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Visa, and others.

Members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, chaired by Democratic US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), were not impressed. In July, they “invited the U.S.-based companies who sponsor the Olympics through The Olympic Partner (TOP ) Programme of the IOC to this hearing to address how they can leverage their influence to insist on concrete human rights improvements in the People’s Republic of China and how they will manage the material and reputational risks of being associated with an Olympic Games held in the midst of a genocide.”

In a rare display of congressional bipartisanship, Republican US Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), the dean of the New Jersey congressional delegation and a leading pro-life and human rights advocate, along with colleagues Merkley and US Rep. James McGovern (D-Massachusetts), did not mince words. Smith:

For let’s be very clear what we are talking about here, and why multiple hearings and concrete action on this topic are called for—first and foremost we not only see genocide and concentration camps directed against Uyghurs and Kazaks in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in particular, but also the ongoing eradication of the culture of Tibet, the harvesting of organs of Falun Gong practitioners, the destruction of Christian churches, and the dismantling of freedom in Hong Kong. And yet, for many American corporations, it is business as usual when it comes to China, notwithstanding the Communist government’s repeated unwillingness to abide by its obligations and written agreements, including in the case of Hong Kong a bilateral treaty with the government of the United Kingdom. And while I appreciate that several corporations have sent their representatives to testify at this hearing, I cannot but shake my head in dismay when I read the preening about compliance with ESG, or Environmental, Social and Governance, principles and the virtue signaling about their support for Olympic athletes.

Merkey and McGovern piled on. “The Olympic Games exist to uplift the human spirit. Yet, unless something dramatically changes, in a few months’ time the Games will be held in a country that continues to mercilessly crush the human spirit, in Xinjiang, in Hong Kong, and in Tibet; among human rights activists and civil society; and anywhere where defenders of freedom stand up to the Chinese government’s bullying,” Merkley said. House Rules Committee Chair McGovern: “Last week, Senators Merkley and Rubio, and Congressman Smith and I, asked the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Beijing Olympics and relocate them if China does not change its behavior.

“If we can delay an Olympics for a year for a pandemic – that’s what we did in Tokyo — we can delay it for a year for a genocide. We received the IOC’s response. They said they would do nothing, not even acknowledging the atrocities in China,” McGovern added.

It is too late to relocate the Olympics, requiring more integrity and courage than the IOC can muster. No country to date, including the United States, has done much to discourage corporate support of what portends to be a massive public relations coup for the Communist Chinese government. No country has canceled their participation, despite public calls for them to do so. US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) raised concerns over the safety of American athletes in his call for a complete boycott. He’s far from alone.

Some say the Olympics should never be “political.” Kind of late for that. The American Enterprise Institute’s Hal Brand: “In 1936, the Berlin Olympics allowed a dictatorial, anti-Semitic regime to bask in the attention of the world. Twelve years later, Germany and Japan were excluded from the London Olympics for their role in starting World War II.” Jimmy Carter boycotted the 1980 Winter Olympics in the USSR over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Another option under consideration by the Biden Administration is a “diplomatic boycott.” Nick Danby writing for the National Interest, opines, “This would allow athletes to compete while the government withdraws its public support and presence. Or, better yet, the American delegation should boycott the opening ceremonies. The United States supports athletic competition, but not a self-serving ceremony touting China’s dubious record.

“And when China’s repression presumably worsens in the coming years, Washington should lobby the IOC to ban China from the games, much like it banned South Africa from 1964 to 1988 for its apartheid policies,” Danby ventures. It will probably have to be pursued by a future President since Joe Biden may be too compromised.

And China isn’t happy with all this talk. They are openly bullying corporate sponsors via the US-China Business Council and others to “speak out.” Xie Feng, China’s Foreign Vice-Minister, even “warned that if relations between the two countries deteriorate, the business community could not expect to make money while remaining silent,” The South China Morning Post reported.

Give China’s Communist government credit – they know how to speak the language of corporate America.

The testimony provided to the CECC by corporate representatives didn’t mention a word about China or its well-documented human rights abuses – just their programs that had nothing to do with the issue at hand, nothing that might offend Chinese officialdom.

But let’s not focus the spotlight on just corporate sponsors. Legislation to address forced labor issues involving Uyghur Muslime has been pending for months, blocked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with an assist from the Biden Administration. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin explains (December 2nd):

Yet the Democrat-led Congress can’t seem to get the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which passed the Senate unanimously in July, to President Biden’s desk. Pointing to procedural issues and promises of future action, Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate can’t seem to agree on a strategy to pass the bill through both chambers, despite publicly claiming they support it.

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the co-sponsor of the Senate’s version of the bill, pushed to add it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation. Senate Democrats objected under a procedural rule that bars amendments that affect appropriations. Rubio called that a dodge.

“This is about the fact that they don’t want this bill to pass over at the House,” Rubio said on the Senate floor, referring directly to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Rubio also said U.S. corporations that profit from forced labor in China, such as Apple and Nike, have been lobbying against the bill, which is true. On Thursday, Pelosi denied Rubio’s accusations of stalling and promised her chamber would pass the House’s version of the legislation, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), which the House passed last year 406 to 3. In an interview, McGovern told me his bill will be voted on and likely passed again in the House next week.

We’ll see. Given the differences between the House (HR 1155) and Senate (S. 65) bills, there would need to be a House-Senate conference to iron those out. Both Chambers would then, ostensibly, pass a final version. So, there’s plenty of chances for Pelosi to slow-walk the effort, despite her support for a “diplomatic boycott.” And don’t forget corporations lobbying against the bill. National Review:

But the act is still far from the finish line. Even if the House adopts McGovern’s bill, that would only begin a new process around that measure (which differs from the Senate version), and there would be many points at which the administration or corporate interests could continue to block or attempt to gut it.

In a hard-hitting floor speech Thursday coming to Rubio’s defense amid attacks by Schumer and Pelosi, Senator Mitt Romney pointed to a green motivation for opposition to the act: “Democrats want cheap batteries for their so-called Build Back Better agenda, and nearly 80 percent of the rare earths, including other materials like lithium and cobalt and the like that are used to make these batteries, come from China.”

Meanwhile, companies with sizable supply-chain footprints in Xinjiang will remain dug in against the bill. About a year ago, the New York Times reported that Apple, Nike, and Coke lobbied against key components of the legislation.

All this aside, what do we do about the Olympics? No one wants to punish or make pawns of our Olympic athletes, many of whom have trained hard and long for this lifetime opportunity. Much of the corporate sponsorship support them, not China’s propaganda machine, but sponsors should oversee it. NBC, which will broadcast the Olympics, should shy away from airing political propaganda, including glorified visuals of Xi Jinping.

While not meaning much, a diplomatic boycott would send a message and draw some attention to China’s murderous genocide and atrocities. So would Congress shunning corporate lobbyists from Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola and moving quickly to send the Uyghur Force Labor Prevention Act to Biden’s desk before the Olympics. Other countries should follow suit. Perhaps companies like Apple and Nike, in particular, should accelerate the relocation of their manufacturing and supply chains away from China.

China’s communist government is evil. Need we even talk about their complicity in covering up the origins of the coronavirus, which has killed millions of people and wrecked global economic and social havoc over the past two years? Shame on Congress and the Biden Administration for not acting sooner to relocate the Olympics. Let’s hope they do something meaningful and prevent the Chinese from using or abusing these Olympics to push their propaganda.

I am not holding my breath.

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  1. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    The IOC is another organization that needs to die.

    • #1
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This is reminiscent of the corporations that worked with the Nazis: Barclays, Chase, Coca-Cola, General Motors, and IBM.  

    • #2
  3. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Kelly D Johnston: Beijing won out over Almaty, Khazakstan by just four votes, 44-40, after Norway, the early favorite, withdrew their bid over embarrassing demands made by the IOC.

    Sounds like Norway made a practical decision.  Hosting modern Olympic games is almost always a money-loser.  We should wish the Olympics on our enemies.

    • #3
  4. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Linking to the BBC? For shame!

    • #4
  5. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Why not let China demonstrate on a world stage whether a genocidal dictatorship can host a better competition than a constitutional monarchy or a republic of free citizens? 

    Wasn’t part of the ancient games to have athletes coming from radically different social and political structures compete to see which structure produced the best athletes? Part of the Cold War era Olympics was the competition between whether the free citizens of the United States would outperform the constrained people of the Soviet Union. 

    If part of the Olympics is to allow countries to demonstrate that their social and political structure produces superior athletes, why not let those countries also demonstrate that their social and political structures produce superior competition venues? Why require a country to give up some of its identity in order to compete either on the field or for hosting opportunities?

    [I’m asking the philosophical question, and ignoring the problems of corruption and bribery in the IOC, and the fact that “woke” U.S. based global corporations won’t truthfully acknowledge what goes on in China. I also acknowledge the difficulty that every host country has to conform to some rules so that Jewish athletes participating in 1936 don’t get sent to German concentration camps, Muslim athletes in 2022 don’t get sent to Chinese “work farms,” and media can truthfully report to the rest of the world what is going on in the host country without themselves ending up “disappeared.”]

    • #5
  6. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Kelly D Johnston:

    It is too late to relocate the Olympics, requiring more integrity and courage than the IOC can muster.

    Move it to where? Germany, Austria, Ireland, France…Washington D.C? Oppression, tyranny, torture and persecution in the west is every bit as real as it is in China, RINOs just like to ignore that in order to sound virtuous.

    We’ve got concentration camps in Australia, open apartheid all across Europe and a dozen US cities.

    Christine Anderson of the EU Parliament:

    “I will do whatever I can to make it known to the world that your once free and liberal democracy has been transformed into a totalitarian regime which tramples on human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law…

    I am a German and we once asked our grandparents how they could have just stood by in silence allowing a horrific totalitarian regime to come about. Anyone could have known, all they had to do was open their eyes, and take a look. The vast majority chose not to.

    So what will you tell your grandchildren? Will you tell them you did not know? Will you tell them you were just following orders?

    You need to understand it is not about breaking the fourth wave. It is about breaking people…

    We need to stop our governments from transforming our free and democratic societies into totalitarian regimes. We need to do it now. We need to stand up now.”

    Tom Cotton and the rest of sweaty-palmed D.C. charlatans need to shut their traps about genocide and torture until they’re willing to do something about the political prisoners rotting in their own backyard.

    • #6
  7. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    There was a documentary back in 2008 when Beijing held the Summer Olympics. It showed that China had a national program to take kids from their parents and force them to compete and train for years on end to make China competitive in the Olympics. Right there the IOC should have said sport is about free and voluntary competition for personal ambition and glory. It is not about training young people in camps against their will and their parents for the sake of glory of the state. When this was broadcast pretty openly on what China was doing to remain competitive it should have immediately been a no go for any future Chinese propaganda opportunities to host. Instead the IOC has been sucking up to China all these years and they have lost their credibility. We should not listen to anymore speeches from the IOC about sport and values. There are no values in what China has done. The 2008 Olympics were the slave Olympics. These are the genocide Olympics. No one should have any respect for anything going on.

    • #7
  8. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    What is the primary reason the Olympics exist? Would they exist if NBC didn’t give them gigantic piles of money? 

    It’s so corrupt and wasteful. It must be that so many people find it interesting that it outweighs that. Something like that.

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I’d prefer the Olympics to be apolitical.  I do understand that this was not always honored in the past, most disastrously, in my view, in the US-led boycott in 1980.  The fact that a bad decision was made in the past is not a good reason to make the same mistake again, in my view.

    I’ve been reminiscing recently about my own (minor) swimming career, and remembering how the great hero of my high school days, Rowdy Gaines, didn’t get to compete at the Olympics in 1980 at the peak of his career, because of President Carter’s political decision.  Gaines was the world record holder, and did go on to win 3 golds in 1984 in Los Angeles, but he might well have won 4 at Moscow. Also, his gold medals in LA have asterisks on them, because of the Russian-led boycott in 1984.

    • #9
  10. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Why not let China demonstrate on a world stage whether a genocidal dictatorship can host a better competition than a constitutional monarchy or a republic of free citizens? 

    Because, unfortunately, China is capable of creating very impressive displays of pageantry, capable of creating decent infrastructure quickly, and capable of raising a generation of successful competitive athletes. China is something new in modern times, a high-tech high-function totalitarian regime driven by a capitalist engine fueled by foreign trade.

    The point isn’t to show the world that totalitarianism can make the trains run on time. Rather, it’s to draw public attention to a country that routinely commits atrocities and, in doing so, to discourage U.S. companies from being complicit in those atrocities.

    I applaud the Women’s Tennis Association for making a real effort to demand accountability from China. I wish more companies and organizations would join them.

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    Tom Cotton and the rest of sweaty-palmed D.C. charlatans need to shut their traps about genocide and torture until they’re willing to do something about the political prisoners rotting in their own backyard.

    I agree that an injustice is being done in D.C. and we need louder voices in Congress talking about it. I don’t know what mechanisms exist in a Congress controlled by Democrats, given that the authority to prosecute and persecute the January 6th rioters is held by the Democratic-controlled executive branch.

    But, no, no one needs to “shut their traps about genocide and torture.”

    • #10
  11. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I agree that an injustice is being done in D.C. and we need louder voices in Congress talking about it. I don’t know what mechanisms exist in a Congress controlled by Democrats, given that the authority to prosecute and persecute the January 6th rioters is held by the Democratic-controlled executive branch.

    But, no, no one needs to “shut their traps about genocide and torture.”

    Who cares about the worthless mechanisms of Congress? He/they can get online or on tv and start speaking up about it. They’re not, because they don’t care, and they don’t care because they’re hypocrites, and hypocrites should shut up until they put up about everything until they’re no longer hypocrites. 

     

    • #11
  12. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I agree that an injustice is being done in D.C. and we need louder voices in Congress talking about it. I don’t know what mechanisms exist in a Congress controlled by Democrats, given that the authority to prosecute and persecute the January 6th rioters is held by the Democratic-controlled executive branch.

    But, no, no one needs to “shut their traps about genocide and torture.”

    Who cares about the worthless mechanisms of Congress? He/they can get online or on tv and start speaking up about it. They’re not, because they don’t care, and they don’t care because they’re hypocrites, and hypocrites should shut up until they put up about everything until they’re no longer hypocrites.

     

    Okay. That’s a perspective.

    I guess my own take on it is, rather than tell them to shut up when they do speak up, tell them to speak up more often. Praise the good behavior, as it were.

    • #12
  13. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    when they do speak up, tell them to speak up more often.

    They haven’t spoken about the persecuted Americans at all, except to reinforce the idea that they’re getting what they deserve. That’s the point, and it renders their rhetoric about the issue overseas disingenuous. They don’t really care about political persecution in China or anywhere else, their actions prove it. 

    It’s like listening to a pedophile sermonizing on chastity, or listening to a BLM agitator rail on about justice. 

    • #13
  14. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    when they do speak up, tell them to speak up more often.

    They haven’t spoken about the persecuted Americans at all, except to reinforce the idea that they’re getting what they deserve. That’s the point, and it renders their rhetoric about the issue overseas disingenuous. They don’t really care about political persecution in China or anywhere else, their actions prove it.

    It’s like listening to a pedophile sermonizing on chastity, or listening to a BLM agitator rail on about justice.

    I still don’t see the logic in condemning them when they do the right thing.

    • #14
  15. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    when they do speak up, tell them to speak up more often.

    They haven’t spoken about the persecuted Americans at all, except to reinforce the idea that they’re getting what they deserve. That’s the point, and it renders their rhetoric about the issue overseas disingenuous. They don’t really care about political persecution in China or anywhere else, their actions prove it.

    It’s like listening to a pedophile sermonizing on chastity, or listening to a BLM agitator rail on about justice.

    I still don’t see the logic in condemning them when they do the right thing.

    That’s because you still see them as honorable. Some of us see them as lying pieces of garbage. A tree is judged by it’s fruit. 

    • #15
  16. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    when they do speak up, tell them to speak up more often.

    They haven’t spoken about the persecuted Americans at all, except to reinforce the idea that they’re getting what they deserve. That’s the point, and it renders their rhetoric about the issue overseas disingenuous. They don’t really care about political persecution in China or anywhere else, their actions prove it.

    It’s like listening to a pedophile sermonizing on chastity, or listening to a BLM agitator rail on about justice.

    I still don’t see the logic in condemning them when they do the right thing.

    That’s because you still see them as honorable. Some of us see them as lying pieces of garbage. A tree is judged by it’s fruit.

    No, I don’t see them as garbage, but nor do I see them as honorable. I see them as human beings who will respond to incentives. I think our job is to reward good behavior. Part of that is giving them credit when they do the right thing.

    Years ago I remember talking to a woman in a Bible study class about charity. My wife and I were supporting orphanages in Asia at the time. She criticized such efforts because, as she pointed out, there were people in our own community struggling to acquire basic needs.

    She was right, of course, that there are poor among us. But it seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, that we shouldn’t attack good deeds simply because we think some other good deed would be better.

    • #16
  17. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    when they do speak up, tell them to speak up more often.

    They haven’t spoken about the persecuted Americans at all, except to reinforce the idea that they’re getting what they deserve. That’s the point, and it renders their rhetoric about the issue overseas disingenuous. They don’t really care about political persecution in China or anywhere else, their actions prove it.

    It’s like listening to a pedophile sermonizing on chastity, or listening to a BLM agitator rail on about justice.

    I still don’t see the logic in condemning them when they do the right thing.

    That’s because you still see them as honorable. Some of us see them as lying pieces of garbage. A tree is judged by it’s fruit.

    No, I don’t see them as garbage, but nor do I see them as honorable. I see them as human beings who will respond to incentives. I think our job is to reward good behavior. Part of that is giving them credit when they do the right thing.

    Years ago I remember talking to a woman in a Bible study class about charity. My wife and I were supporting orphanages in Asia at the time. She criticized such efforts because, as she pointed out, there were people in our own community struggling to acquire basic needs.

    She was right, of course, that there are poor among us. But it seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, that we shouldn’t attack good deeds simply because we think some other good deed would be better.

    She was wrong, of course, but that has no bearing on my rationale for writing off Cotton’s statements about persecution in China. He’s a hypocrite, bottom line. 

    Imagine if the leader of that bible study was was cheating on his wife. Would you continue to attend?

    • #17