Last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach requesting a meeting prior to the IOC Executive Board meeting in October to discuss his call for the IOC to stand up for freedom and urge Communist China to stop violating human rights, or find a new home for the 2022 Olympic Games.
For almost a year, Scott has been urging the IOC to reconsider its decision to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Communist China as General Secretary Xi Jinping commits genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and restricts the human rights of Hong Kongers.
Scott’s letter is below.
Dear Mr. Bach:
I write to follow up with you about the ongoing human rights abuses in Communist China, and to request to meet or speak with you, as well as the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), ahead of the October Board meeting in Lausanne.
In October 2019, I sent you a letter asking the IOC to stand for freedom and urge Communist China to stop violating human rights, or find a new home for the 2022 Olympic Games. The IOC’s response at the time was woefully inadequate for an organization that prides itself on “uniting the world in peaceful competition.”
Since I last wrote you, the human rights situation in Communist China has become even more dire. Beijing has stripped away the civil liberties of Hong Kongers, leading to more than 5 million people losing their rights to due process, free speech, and free assembly. New reports have revealed that Communist China is leading a genocide against Uyghurs living in Xianjing. Blindfolded Uyghurs are being loaded onto trains and transported to internment camps simply because of their religion
As I have previously explained to you, the IOC faces an important decision concerning the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The IOC’s own founding charter indicates that the goal of Olympism is to promote “a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” But the host nation for the 2022 games is proving every day it has no regard for peace or human dignity.
I’m pleased that the Olympic Committee received recommendations for promoting human rights in host cities earlier this year. But discussion of human rights cannot wait until the 2024 Olympics. More than one million Uyghurs are imprisoned right now because of their religion, and Hong Kongers are losing their rights to live in a free society.
Holding the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing would be contrary to the mission of the IOC and its history of standing up to human rights abusers, as it did with South Africa during Apartheid and Afghanistan in 2000.
Further, the safety of athletes and attendees would be at risk. The Communist Party of China has built up a mass surveillance infrastructure in Beijing that tracks every person’s location and internet activity. Athletes and attendees of the 2022 Games would put at risk any time they posted on social media, connected to a Wi-Fi network, or even charged their phone. The IOC has provided no information about the plan to prevent Communist China from stealing personal information and data of athletes and leaders from around the world who come to the Olympic Games.
But it is not only the personal data of athletes and attendees that will be put at risk. Because of Section 38 of the new National Security Law covering Hong Kong, the IOC cannot guarantee that the Communist Party of China will not enforce its laws and arrest athletes and attendees who have used their platform to stand for the rights and dignity of Hong Kongers.
If the IOC cares about human rights, it will stand against the genocide of religious minorities in Xianjing and the political oppression of Hong Kongers, and refuse to reward the Communist Party of China with the 2022 Games.
I look forward to your response and am eager to speak with you ahead of the next Executive Board meeting.