Rep. Steel, Sen. Cruz Call to Move Olympics Out of China

March 23, 2021 Updated: March 23, 2021

Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) insisting the 2022 Olympics be moved out of Beijing due to gross human rights violations in China.

Steel told The Epoch Times: “[In China,] you can see lots of victims. They have human rights abuses, and they’re going after the Uyghur [Muslims], and actually they are taking children away without their parents’ consent and putting them into orphanages. They’re putting Uyghur members into labor camps, and there’s a lot of torture, abuse, and organ harvesting, and censorship.”

The letter, sent March 19 and addressed to Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, argued that the stated goal of the Olympics is to promote “a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” Yet the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is responsible for the violent repression of dissenting minorities and of civil liberties in Hong Kong.

Steel and Cruz have not received a response from the IOC yet. Steel said that while they have just sent a letter so far, both her office and Cruz’s are working on a bicameral resolution to call for the Olympics to be moved.

“We’ll see how many people are going to join [the resolution], but a lot of people, I think they really agree—a lot of members of Congress and the Senate side.”

Steel and Cruz’s letter states that an estimated 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui, and others are being detained in mass internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The detainees endure mass rape, political indoctrination, and torture.

The letter says the CCP has dismantled the rule of law in Hong Kong and targeted pro-democracy leaders and journalists.

Steel was recently appointed to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and rule-of-law developments in China. “I’m the only freshman that actually got appointed for that commission. I read what they did last year, in the 116th Congress, and it was amazing,” she said.

In last year’s report, the commission stated that CCP officials had “taken unprecedented steps to extend their repressive policies through censorship, intimidation, and the detention of people in China for exercising their fundamental human rights.”

It suggested the United States put pressure on the CCP through sanctions and other means to address many problems, including intense surveillance and control of the Chinese people through “digital authoritarianism.”

It highlighted the detrimental influence the CCP tries to exert internationally, including how it takes advantage of “U.S. openness to exert influence over U.S. policy, acquire critical technologies, and transmit disinformation and propaganda to advance the Chinese government’s messages and interests.”

It also noted the need for transparency regarding infectious outbreaks.

“You don’t know what the Chinese Communist Party is going to do. … We cannot really trust them,” Steel said. “We want to send our athletes to a safe place, and they can really have a fair competition.”

Steel said the Olympic athletes have been working so hard to train and she doesn’t want the Olympics to be canceled. “If they agree just to change the location of the Olympic Games, I think that can be really perfect.”

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