A bipartisan pair of House lawmakers is calling for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in response to allegations that China is involved in a genocide against minority groups in the country.
Republican Rep. Michael WaltzMichael WaltzGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation Defense & National Security — The mental scars of Afghanistan MORE (Fla.) proposed an amendment to be included in the annual State Department funding bill, which the House Appropriations Committee is examining on Tuesday.
Democratic Rep. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to reboot COVID-19 plan House Ethics panel reviewing Rep. Malinowski's stock trades Overnight Health Care — US hits new vaccine milestone MORE (N.J.) co-sponsored the amendment.
The amendment, if approved, would bar the State Department from allocating any funds that would be used to transport United States officers or officials to the Winter Games.
“No funds appropriated pursuant to any appropriations Acts or otherwise appropriated may be expended to enable any United States officer or official to attend the 2022 Olympic Games in the People’s Republic of China,” the amendment reads.
Waltz told ABC News that “it would have a significant impact on the United States sending an official delegation” to the Winter Games next year.
A number of lawmakers, political figures and groups have called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in protest of China’s treatment of its Uyghur ethnic minority, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (D-Calif.), who in May encouraged a diplomatic boycott of the games.
China has denied committing any crimes against the predominately Muslim Uyghurs, instead contending that what critics call forced labor camps are actually workforce training programs.
The State Department in April said the U.S. was not considering joining allies in a boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing for human rights violations committed by China, telling The Hill in a statement that the department was not discussing such a move.
Earlier this month, however, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. is “closely consulting with allies and partners” and the business community for a “common approach” to the 2022 Winter Games.
Waltz told the news organization that he “can’t imagine” the U.S. sending a delegation to China after both the Biden and Trump administrations recognized that there is an ongoing genocide in China.
“When this administration and the last administration have both said officially and unofficially that there's an ongoing genocide [in China], I can't imagine that we would send a delegation at all,” Waltz said.
Waltz in May introduced legislation, dubbed the Beijing Winter Olympics Sponsor Accountability Act, which calls for a four-year ban on the federal government from signing contracts with businesses that sponsor the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The Senate in June passed sweeping legislation aimed at combating China’s competitiveness, which included a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games. It has been delayed in the House.
In April, Chinese officials warned of a “robust Chinese response” if the U.S. were to go through with a boycott of the Olympic games.
“The politicization of sports will damage the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the interests of athletes from all countries,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, according to The Associated Press.
“The international community including the U.S. Olympic Committee will not accept it,” he added.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has also encouraged Congress not to boycott the 2022 Games, writing in a letter to lawmakers that while the committee is also “troubled by the situation in China,” an "athlete boycott of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is not the solution to geopolitical issues.”