Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is calling on the Biden administration and other world leaders to conduct a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Olympics rather than a full boycott, allowing athletes to compete but barring Biden administration officials from traveling to witness the Games in person.
“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday called for a ‘diplomatic boycott’ of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in response to China’s human rights record,” CNBC reported Wednesday.
“We cannot proceed as if nothing is wrong about the Olympics going to China,” Pelosi Congress’ Human Rights Commission and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on Tuesday, in a hearing on whether the United States should refrain from having an official presence at the Beijing Winter Olympics due to take place in 2022.
Pelosi noted that full boycotts of the Olympic Games typically punish athletes but achieve little in the way of political goals. A “diplomatic boycott” might have the opposite effect, the Speaker said.
“For heads of state to go to China, in light of a genocide that is ongoing while you’re sitting there in your seats, really begs the question: What moral authority do you have to speak about human rights any place in the world if you’re willing to pay your respects to the Chinese government as they commit genocide?” Pelosi noted.
Pelosi’s harshest words were reserved for corporations who oppose restrictions on importing Chinese goods or partnerships with Chinese companies that use forced labor. The Speaker lashed out at those who “look the other way on China’s abuses out of concern for their bottom line.”
“If we don’t speak out against human rights violations in China for commercial reasons, we lose all moral authority to speak out for human rights anywhere,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi did not name any corporations by name, though she referenced a “bipartisan bill targeting the use of forced labor in the Xinjiang region,” per CNBC. She may have withheld naming names, though, because her campaign donors are employed by some of China’s most prominent American partners.
According to Open Secrets, Pelosi received nearly $80,000 in donations from individuals who work for or are affiliated with the Walt Disney Company, which thanked the government of China for allowing it to film brief snippets of B-roll for its feature film “Mulan” in the Xinjiang region, in mountains that are reportedly adjacent to forced labor camps. She’s also a favored candidate of employees of Alphabet, the parent company for Gooogle, which had planned to launch a censored search engine in China, and Microsoft, which has a three-decade relationship with the country.
Pelosi herself, though, has been a vocal opponent of Chinese influence, authoring a bill, presented most years, that would revoke China’s “most favored nation” trade status. She did, however, defend her House colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), when he was discovered to have had a relationship with a woman who turned out to be a Chinese spy.