The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bill today to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from using the Winter Olympics to whitewash its image. The bill calls on the Secretary of State to ensure that U.S. athletes are aware of human rights issues in the host country before the event.
With the countdown to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics less than a year away, international voices are growing louder calling for the removal of the Chinese Communist Party’s hosting rights. Members of the U.S. Congress have also recently introduced proposals to ask the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to “allow cities that respect human rights to host the Winter Olympics instead,” citing the CCP’s oppression of the Uighur people in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-Texas) introduced the “American values and Security in International Athletics Act” on the 23rd. The bill aims to prevent human rights abusing countries such as the Chinese Communist Party from relying on international events to improve their image.
According to the bill, if an international event is hosted by a specific communist country, or if the host country is rated as the worst Tier 3 in the State Department’s latest human trafficking rating report, or if the Secretary of State determines that there are serious human rights concerns, the Secretary of State should send information about human rights issues in that country no later than 180 days before the event.
In addition, the bill would require the Secretary of State to include information on what privacy or security risks competitors may face and how to protect themselves from being targeted by foreign intelligence searches.
The bill was placed on the agenda of the House Foreign Affairs Committee shortly after it was introduced, and was considered by the committee today along with several democracy and human rights-related bills.
McCaul told the committee that the Chinese Communist Party used the 2008 Beijing Olympics to whitewash its image, and now it wants to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
McCaul said, “Ensuring that Team USA is properly informed about (mainland China’s) human rights issues and invasive surveillance practices will help protect them from being exploited and will also stop the CCP from using the Olympics as a ‘big outreach campaign.'”
The bill passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee without objection and will next be sent to the full House for consideration. According to the U.S. legislative process, the bill must be passed by the House and Senate before it can be submitted to the president for signature and take effect.
In addition, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-CA) led the introduction of two resolutions on the 18th, both of which were passed today. One condemns Beijing and the Hong Kong government for their continued violations of the freedoms and rights of the people of Hong Kong, while the other reaffirms the importance of respecting democracy, human rights and the rule of law to U.S. diplomacy.