February 24, 2021

Reschenthaler, Waltz, and Katko Introduce Resolution Urging a Boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Representatives Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), Michael Waltz (FL-6), and lead Republican for the House Committee on Homeland Security John Katko (NY-24) recently introduced a resolution urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to rebid the 2022 Winter Olympics hosted in Beijing, China. Additionally, if the Games are not moved, the legislation calls for the United States to lead an international boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

"As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) commits genocide against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the United States, the IOC, and nations throughout the world have a responsibility to hold China accountable for its egregious human rights violations by moving the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing," said Rep. Reschenthaler. "I am proud to introduce this resolution with Congressmen Waltz and Katko calling for the United States to lead an international boycott of the Games if they are not moved out of China. Freedom-loving countries around the world must join together to condemn China's behavior and show the CCP that the United States and the international community will not idly stand by while they commit atrocities against the Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and other Chinese dissidents."

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," said Rep. Waltz. "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 United States simply cannot in good faith participate in an Olympic Games in a country that is committing genocide and continuously attempts to manipulate and lie to the global community about it," said Rep. John Katko (NY-24), lead Republican for the Committee on Homeland Security. "For far too long, the Chinese Communist Party has become increasingly bold in its efforts to suppress its own people, weaponize their private sector for intelligence and military purposes, exploit the data of Americans, and manipulate global markets—posing distinct threats to our homeland security and American way of life. It's time they are held accountable. This time-honored contest amongst nations should take place in a deserving country that actually lives up to the values of the Olympic Charter, not one that blatantly undermines our foundational values."

In January, the U.S. Department of State determined the Government of China, under the direction and control of the CCP, is committing genocide and crimes against humanity against the Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed with that assessment, stating that "forcing men, women and children into concentration camps, trying to in effect re-educate them to be adherents to the Chinese Communist Party – all of that speaks to an effort to commit genocide."

Since at least 2017, China has detained and persecuted approximately 1.8 million Turkic Muslims, including ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz, in "political re-education" centers. Muslim minorities are held in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region without due process and coerced into disavowing their religious beliefs. They are subjected to forced labor, deprived of food and other essential needs, and exposed to atrocities like physical abuse, torture, and organ harvesting. Women in Xinjiang face even harsher treatment as the CCP attempts to eliminate minority peoples through forced abortion and sterilization.

In recent months, rebidding and boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics has gained significant momentum. This week, Canada's parliament voted unanimously to support rebidding the 2022 Winter Olympic Games out of Beijing. It has also been debated in the Australian Parliament, suggested by the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, and supported by the Washington Post editorial board and dozens of human rights organizations. In the U.S. Senate, Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced a similar resolution calling on the IOC to move the Games out of Communist China and rebid them to another country.

There is precedent for such action. Following the 1979 Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan and their blatant disregard of international law and human rights, the United States led a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. Sixty-five nations joined the protest, including South Korea, Canada, West Germany, and Israel. Months prior, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the transfer or cancellation of the 1980 Games, and if those efforts failed, the resolution supported a boycott and alternate games.

In the 116th Congress, Congressmen Reschenthaler and Waltz were members of China Task Force led by Ranking Member Michael McCaul of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The task force released a report in September 2020 detailing China's egregious human rights violations and growing authoritarianism.