A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has drafted a resolution to expose China’s poor human rights record, saying Beijing is unfit to host the Olympic Games.
China held its first Olympic Games in summer 2008 in Beijing. The city has now been selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The resolution states that China’s flagrant human rights abuses make it unfit to hold the Olympics, given that the goal of the Games is to promote “a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
If China fails to “demonstrate significant progress in securing fundamental human rights,” including freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly, by Jan. 1, 2021, the IOC should rebid the 2022 Winter Olympics, the resolution stated.
“The Olympic Games are an incredible opportunity to allow the world’s best athletes to represent their countries and unite our nations, and should not be hosted by one of the world’s worst human rights abusers,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said in a press release. Scott and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the resolution to the Senate floor on March 4.
Scott said: “The Senate is sending a clear message to the IOC: Stand up for freedom and urge Communist China to do the right thing, or find a new home for the 2022 Olympic Games. It’s not about politics, it’s about human rights.”
The resolution is also sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) mentioned in the release Beijing’s previous failure to improve its human rights record:
“The Chinese Communist Party exploited the 2008 Summer Olympics as a propaganda event to glorify itself even as it cracked down harshly on dissenters. Beijing doesn’t deserve another chance to put a happy face on a regime that relies on concentration camps and secret police to maintain control.”
Human Rights Violations
Citing a number of reports, the resolution pointed to China’s long list of human rights violations.
More than 1 million ethnic Muslims, including Uyghurs, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz people, have been detained in roughly 1,200 internment camps in China’s Xinjiang region, according to the 2019 Trafficking In Persons report by the U.S. State Department. Beijing claims these camps are “vocational training centers.”
“Authorities offer subsidies incentivizing Chinese companies to open factories in close proximity to the internment camps, and local governments receive additional funds for each inmate forced to work in these sites at a fraction of minimum wage or without any compensation,” according to the State Department report.
The resolution also pointed to recent findings by an independent people’s tribunal in London on the Chinese regime’s harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience. The panelists found that “practitioners of Falun Gong have been the main source of organs.”
Last June, the tribunal, known as the China Tribunal, concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting has taken place for years in China “on a significant scale,” and is still taking place today, constituting “crimes against humanity.”
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice consisting of meditative exercises and moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Since 1999, the Chinese regime has brutally persecuted practitioners nationwide, detaining hundreds of thousands in prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.
In recent years, mounting evidence has confirmed that these prisoners of conscience have become an organ bank for the Chinese regime to conduct transplant surgeries for profit.
The tribunal released its full judgment on March 1, including new evidence about Chinese officials’ direct involvement in forced organ harvesting.
The resolution also pointed to the situation in Hong Kong. The city government, under the influence of the Chinese regime, has violated peoples’ fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and assembly, according to a 2019 annual report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Hong Kong police have arrested more than 7,000 people and fired over 16,000 rounds of tear gas since mass protests began in June 2019 over a since-shelved extradition bill that would have allowed the Chinese regime to transfer individuals from Hong Kong to face trial in the mainland.
U.S. officials also criticized the Hong Kong police’s recent arrests of three prominent supporters of the local pro-democracy movement, including Jimmy Lai, owner of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily.
“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deprives its citizens every day of fundamental human rights and human dignity,” McSally said in the press release.
“It is unacceptable that a totalitarian regime with a clear record of oppression is slated to host the 2022 Olympic Games, which are meant to represent unity and peace.”