Top Republicans demand IOC bans Chinese Olympic team over Uyghur genocide reports

As the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing nears, a number of top Republicans are stepping up the pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not only to have the games postponed but also to have one particular team banned.

According to Newsmax, two top-ranking Republicans on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), recently penned a letter to the head of the IOC in which they asked for the games to be moved back and for the Chinese team to be banned from participating over reports of genocide committed against the Uyghurs in the western region of Xinjiang province.

The two Republicans argued that the IOC has banned teams for much less, including doping scandals, adding that genocide surely falls within the guidelines of sidelining a team from playing.

“Taking a stand”

Earlier this year, shocking reports emerged regarding the situation involving the gross mistreatment of the Uyghurs by the Chinese government, including reports of beatings, rapes, and murders of the minority population of mostly Muslims.

Some of the reports detailed situations of Uyghurs being rounded up and sentenced to “re-education” camps in China, where they’re essentially tortured.

While the IOC faces a particularly tough decision, given that the team the Republicans want to be banned is the team of the host country of the games, the two lawmakers essentially argued that it’s time for someone to step up.

”Taking a stand against genocide is a moral decision, not a political one, and no exemption exists for the IOC when it comes to responsibility for moral decisions,” the Republicans wrote.

Rubio and Smith added: ”Moral neutrality is a contradiction in terms. What is being asked of you is to refuse to dignify the PRC authorities with the honor of hosting the Olympics Games in their capital when those same authorities are actively carrying out a genocide.”

IOC’s previous response

In the letter, the Republicans’ reference to “moral neutrality” regarded the IOC’s insistence that the organization remains neutral on such matters, a response they delivered in July when the idea of banning the Chinese team first hit the headlines.

”Our responsibility is to deliver the Games, which are an amazing thing for the world,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams at the time.

Adams added: “That is our responsibility. It is the responsibility of others — the United Nations, who have been very supportive of the Olympic Games, and governments to deal with this — and not for us. Given the diverse participation in the Olympic Games, the IOC has to remain neutral. That’s clear.”

However, in their letter, Rubio and Smith argued that the IOC has issued bans for offenses that pale in comparison to reported genocide, including doping scandals, the mistreatment of women, and corruption. “If those types of misconduct are grounds for banning a team from the Olympics, surely genocide more than warrants the same response,” the Republicans wrote.

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