Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative James McGovern, the chair and co-chair respectively of the bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), made the request in a letter issued Friday to IOC president Thomas Bach. “No Olympics should be held in a country whose government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity,” they wrote.
The letter was also signed by CECC commissioners Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Christopher Smith, both former commission chairs. “This action would also be in the best interests of the athletes,” said the CECC commissioners. “We find it unfair for the IOC to force athletes to sacrifice their conscience in order to pursue their competitive goals, or vice versa.”
The letter comes amid intensifying international condemnation of China, as Western democracies consider full or partial boycotts of the Beijing Winter Games in response to the Chinese government’s harsh policies against the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims. A UK parliamentary report on human rights abuses in the XUAR issued in early July recommended a partial boycott of the Beijing Games.