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The International Olympic Committee’s Beijing hypocrisy

In less than a month, athletes from around the world will gather in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, giving the Chinese Communist Party a global platform of hundreds of millions of viewers.  

Adolf Hitler infamously used the 1936 Games as a springboard for his conquest across Europe and further worsened Nazi Germany’s genocidal efforts. Vladimir Putin used the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as a launching pad for Russia’s invasion into Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula just a month after the Games. Will Taiwan’s independence be threatened next as China increases its military incursions over the democratic island?  

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Despite the calls from over 180 human rights groups and western officials for the International Olympic Committee to move the Winter Games out of Beijing, the IOC has declared they are “strictly politically neutral at all times.” This pretense of neutrality when it comes to the Chinese Communist Party’s atrocities and aggression is oddly ironic given the decades-long hard-line stand the IOC took against South Africa’s apartheid policies.


Admirably, the IOC set a precedent in 1964 when they barred South Africa from participating in the Tokyo Games due the country’s segregationist and discriminatory apartheid practices. Soon the IOC took a bold step further and permanently banned South Africa from participating from all Games until real reforms came in 1992, ending their dark chapter.  

For those who oppose a boycott of the Beijing Games under the premise that we shouldn’t politicize sports and allow the athletes to compete, I would ask, would they have said the same about the IOC’s boycott of South Africa? 

The IOC listed the reasons for South Africa’s banishment in a 2018 post regarding apartheid that should raise serious questions about their current standards for participation in the Games, let alone the honor of hosting. 

It’s now incumbent on fans to place pressure on the corporate sponsors of the IOC.

It reads: “Between 1960 and 1983, 3.5 million non-white South Africans were forced to leave their homes and move into segregated townships.”  
One need only look at the litany of atrocities being carried out by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and wonder why the IOC hasn’t listed their next host government’s vast human rights abuses as well. 
The U.S. State Department estimates that at least a million Muslim minority Uyghurs in the western Chinese providence of Xinjiang are being forcibly removed and placed into internment camps as part of “ethnic assimilation campaign.” 
We are told by the IOC that the isolated areas where minorities were forced to live in South Africa had “few jobs  and widespread poverty.” What about the forced labor Uyghurs are coerced into to work on cotton fields or build solar panels that the rest of the world inevitably buys?   

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The IOC also cited the “government-issued IDs for non-whites” as an apartheid policy.   
Yet, a CCP mass surveillance state has taken the apartheid model and put it steroids with its efforts to monitor the activities of ethnic minorities and democratic activists in Hong Kong with sophisticated and intrusive new technologies.     
Also consider the IOC’s concern for South Africa’s apartheid “prohibitions on voting, protesting and holding public office.” There are certainly no such freedoms available to targeted minorities groups in China. Why the double standard? 

Awarding the CCP the Games, and failing to relocate them following gross violations of international law, runs counter to the IOC’s own principles. Under its mission, the IOC claims its role is “to cooperate with the competent public or private organizations and authorities in the endeavor to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace.” But the CCP is not cooperating with the competent public or private organizations; nor is it helping humanity through peace.  

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The IOC declares itself as “the guardian of the Olympic Games” and “acts as a catalyst for collaboration” between Olympic committees, athletes, broadcasters, sponsors and other stakeholders.    
Yet members of the IOC vote by secret ballot to determine future hosting sites in a maneuver that is far from transparent – and could very well incentivize the selection of authoritarian-ruled countries that are happy to spend billions of dollars on the Games in return for a showcasing a global spectacle in their home country and presenting a charade to the rest of the world. 
It’s a system rife for corruptive influences.  

We also saw the despicable performance recently from IOC board member Dick Pound as he shamefully vouched for the Chinese government’s treatment of tennis star Peng Shuai following her allegations of sexual assault at the hands of China’s vice premier and has since been largely missing. The IOC cannot be trusted to look after the well-being of our athletes who might dare speak out in opposing to China’s human rights abuses this February.  

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In order to secure the 2008 Games in Beijing, China promised the international press complete access. However, with the Games in hand, journalists covering anti-government protests were detained and deported, while Chinese activists were arrested, detained or simply “disappeared” while the world was distracted by athletic competition. 

Despite these experiences, and the continuing misbehavior, the IOC once again decided to award the Chinese Communist Party with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. 

Now, the CCP will use this opportunity to camouflage, distort and hide their oppressive authoritarian regime, which is currently carrying out genocide, actively repressing the democratic rights of people in Hong Kong and Tibet, threatening regional security, stealing American intellectual property, misleading the world on the origins of a pandemic that has killed millions, engaging in debt diplomacy, and increasing their CO2 emissions at an alarming rate, just to list a few. 

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At this point the Winer Games will not be moved. The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has made clear athletes will still go to Beijing.  

In their letter obtained by Fox News, the USOPC references the 1980 U.S-led boycott of the Games in Moscow as reason. But they ignore the IOC ban of South Africa over apartheid. Why? 

It’s now incumbent on fans to place pressure on the corporate sponsors of the IOC such as Coca-Cola, Airbnb, and Proctor & Gamble to live up to their own values and environmental, social and governance claims to withdraw their sponsorships. NBC, which is paying the IOC $7.7 billion for the rights to broadcast the Olympics through 2032, should also be closely watched to see how willing it is to report on the atrocities happening in the country it will be broadcasting from.  

A time for reckoning is coming for the IOC. Its leadership and those who profit off the Games are now complicit by turning a blind eye to a genocide. As Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel noted, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Republican Michael Waltz represents Florida’s 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Armed Services Committee, a Green Beret veteran of the war on terror in Afghanistan, a former White House counterterrorism policy adviser and author of the book “Warrior Diplomat: a Green Beret’s Battles from Washington to Afghanistan.”


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