By Nancy Gillen |
United States Representative John Katko has urged President Joe Biden to order a boycott of next year’s Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
Katko, the US Representative for New York’s 24th Congressional District, wrote to Biden in his capacity as the highest member of the Republican Party on the House Committee on Homeland Security.
In the letter, which was also shared on social media, Katko claimed the alleged human rights violations in China were “antithetical to the values of both the United States and its allies around the world”.
He then called on Biden to orchestrate a boycott of Beijing 2022 and quoted the Olympic Charter to evidence his argument.
“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 such atrocities,” he wrote.
“Before the eyes of the world descend upon China in 2022, I urge you to take action by working with our partners and allies to lead the free nations of the planet in a unified movement to hold this honoured contest amongst nations in a country that actually lives up to the values of the Olympic Charter, ‘[…]to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity’.”
Katko’s letter follows the publication last month of a US State Department report which accused China of committing a genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minority groups.
Biden also reportedly discussed the treatment of Uighur Muslims with Chinese President Xi Jinping shortly after his inauguration as US President in January.
Previous to the State Department report, US politicians such as Florida Senator Rick Scott had already called for a boycott of Beijing 2022.
An Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which includes politicians from the United States, Britain, Japan, Australia and the European Union, has put pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), while pressure is also ramping up on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call for the relocation of the Games.
Both China and the IOC have faced a deluge of criticism ahead of the Beijing 2022 over the host nation’s human rights record.
There has been widespread condemnation of Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang as well as its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong and its policies towards Tibet and Taiwan.
Earlier this month, a joint letter signed by more than 180 campaign groups was sent to leaders around the world to encourage a boycott of the Games.
Campaigners have also started to target Olympic sponsors such as Airbnb.
The Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20 next year, with the Paralympics due to follow from March 4 to 13.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.