A diplomatic boycott implies the refusal of officials of the states participating in the Olympics to attend Olympic events.
“We cannot pretend that there is nothing wrong with the Olympic Games being held in China,” the House Democratic leader said at a joint hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Congressional and Executive Branch Commission on China.
Without supporting a full boycott of the Winter Olympics, which will be held next year in Beijing, which implies the refusal of athletes to participate in the games and the refusal of major companies to sponsor the event, Pelosi said that world leaders should not attend the Olympics because of the genocide carried out by the Chinese authorities against their own citizens.
“Let’s pay tribute to our athletes by staying at home. Let’s declare a diplomatic boycott if this Olympics really takes place,” Pelosi said.
The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4, 2022, just six months after the end of the previously postponed Tokyo Summer Olympics due to the pandemic. Last year, human rights groups met several times with representatives of the International Olympic Committee to request that the Olympic Games be moved outside of China, which also hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Last week, human rights groups and Western countries led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of mass crimes against the Uighur minority in Xinjiang and demanded unhindered access of UN experts to the region.
The co-chair of the Human Rights Commission, Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, opened the hearing by calling on “the IOC and all interested parties, including the United States, to find a new host city-or boycott (the Olympics).”
“By granting Beijing the status of a host of the Olympic Games, we crown the barbaric regime with laurels, while we must condemn the abuses and genocide carried out by them,” Smith said in a statement. According to Smith, representatives of the International Olympic Committee, as well as the American Olympic and Paralympic Committees, were invited to the hearing but did not participate.