US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a worldwide diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics over China’s alleged human rights abuses, including the reported “genocide” of the Uighur people.
During a bipartisan Human Rights Commission hearing on Tuesday on China, Pelosi said that global leaders would lose “moral authority” if they “honoured” China with their attendance.
She said: “Here’s what I propose – and join those who are proposing – is a diplomatic boycott … [in which] lead countries of the world withhold their attendance at the Olympics”, as reported by Reuters.
Pelosi continued: “Let’s not honor the Chinese government by having heads of state go to China. For heads of state to go to China in light of a genocide that is ongoing – while you’re sitting there in your seat – really begs the question, what moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world? Silence is inexcusable.”
She also called out corporate sponsors of the event and said it was “sad ... to see the Olympic corporate sponsors look the other way on China’s abuses out of concern for their bottom line, with some even lobbying against the bipartisan Uighur forced labor bill”.
Multiple human rights groups have reportedly met with the International Olympic Committee to request that the games be moved out of China.
Protests have been held outside headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In 2018, a United Nations panel reported that at least 1 million Uighurs, an ethnic minority in China’s Xinjiang region, were being held in prison and labour camps.
In March this year they repeated their fears over the forced detention.
Beijing has said they are designed to stamp out extremism in the majority Muslim population and rejects that it is a “genocide”.
The Beijing Games, which were also held in the city in 2008, are scheduled to begin in February 2022, only six months after the Tokyo summer Olympics are due to end, following Covid-related delays.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies