Pressure is building for President Joe Biden to take a strong stance against Communist China’s alleged human rights atrocities against minority groups, with some Republicans calling on the administration to support a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
Biden’s critics say the president’s closeness to China is in stark contrast with his criticism for America, which he said has been plagued by “ugly poisons” of “systemic racism and white supremacy” and vowed to change by emphasizing racial equity while assembling his cabinet and laying out his agenda.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for a “diplomatic boycott” where world leaders would not attend but athletes would still compete.
Congressional Republicans have reportedly urged Biden to demand the Games be relocated, claiming his reluctance to do so is hypocritical after the president voiced strong support for Major League Baseball moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia, to protest a state voting law he deemed discriminatory and called “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”
A political action committee Ronald Reagan founded in 1977 was recently revived and has launched a drive calling on the United States to boycott the Beijing Games.
Leaders of Citizens for the Republic (CFTR) say ongoing human rights abuses by the Chinese party-state make its capital city “morally unqualified” to host “what is supposed to be a celebration of international peace.”
“This is an issue that Reagan, if he were alive, would have spoken out on,” said CFTR chairman Craig Shirley, who has authored four books on the former president and has teamed up with three veterans of the Reagan White House who are also part of the committee. “They want to put a false image out to the world of a nice, clean China, and it’s very far from the truth.”
Shirley told The Daily Wire he plans to “shame the hell” out of corporate sponsors and U.S. companies he says benefit from slave labor in China to manufacture their products. Shirley claimed global brands like Apple and Nike are “whoring for communist China.”
CFTR cites “the corrupt Communist government’s ongoing atrocities against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and the Turkic ethnic group known as the Uighurs.”
On the last full day of the Trump administration, outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially accused China of “genocide” and crimes against humanity. He said a “decades-long campaign of repression” against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minority groups had escalated since March 2017.
These acts are an affront to the Chinese people and to civilized nations everywhere. The People's Republic of China and the CCP must be held to account.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 19, 2021
“These acts are an affront to the Chinese people and to civilized nations everywhere,” tweeted Pompeo. “The People’s Republic of China and the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] must be held to account.”
His successor, Antony Blinken, later said he agreed with Pompeo’s assessment but did not indicate how the Biden administration would proceed with the Beijing Games, which are scheduled to begin in less than nine months.
Pompeo went on to call for a boycott, referring to the upcoming event as the “Genocide Olympics.”
China has rejected the accusations of genocide, calling the claims “malicious lies.”
According to academic researchers, the Chinese government has placed more than one million Uighurs and other minorities in reeducation camps that officials call “vocational training centers.” Hundreds of these facilities are located in Xinjiang, the predominantly Muslim northwestern region of China that takes up about one-sixth of the nation’s landmass.
The Washington Post reports, “Beijing has turned the entire region into a 21st-century surveillance state” with “ubiquitous checkpoints and widespread facial-recognition technology.”
Former detainees described prison-like conditions, political indoctrination, and abuse. They said they were forced to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), renounce Islam, and trained to speak fluent Mandarin – strategies widely believed to be intended to phase out aspects of Muslim life and cultural heritage.
Women have reported forced birth control efforts meant to curb China’s Muslim population, including sterilizations and abortions. Some women reportedly said they were removed from cells and raped by masked Chinese men.
Some captives are reportedly moved to factories in Xinjiang and surrounding regions when they “graduate” from the camps.
Last week, new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield acknowledged that people in Xinjiang “are being tortured” and “women are being forcibly sterilized.” She made the comments during a virtual event that China had reportedly “lobbied U.N. member states to stay away from,” according to Reuters.
“We will keep standing up and speaking out until China’s government stops its crimes against humanity and the genocide of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang,” she vowed.
But in comments to Al Sharpton’s group aired last month, Thomas-Greenfield also had tough words about her own country. “We have to acknowledge that we are an imperfect union and have been since the beginning,” she said. “I’ve seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles.”
The State Department issued a statement last month saying it was not considering a boycott of the Beijing Games. A spokesperson for China warned of a nonspecific “robust Chinese response” to a potential boycott the following day, saying, “The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries.”
CFTR describes China as “the new evil empire that President Reagan spoke of.”
Shirley says the PAC wants “a boycott across the spectrum.” He rejects softer proposals that he said would “falter,” such as Pelosi’s call for a diplomatic boycott that has previously been proposed by U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah).
“Americans should support a boycott of athletes in the West from going to China,” said Shirley. “It has to be a boycott of athletes, a boycott of participation, a boycott of corporations, everything, across the board.”
Shirley says he has not yet talked to any politicians about the proposed boycott but plans to reach out to human rights groups. Activists say China’s abuses have only worsened since Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games.
Biden “has failed as a moral leader of the United States,” Shirley said. “He’s failed to point out the slave labor and the depth of the genocide in China. I expect [the Biden administration] to be pro-Red China, right down the line. They will send representatives over there to witness the torch lighting and stand and applaud while people are imprisoned.”
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