How Mitt Romney hopes to shine light on Uyghur genocide during the 2022 Beijing Olympics

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks to reporters as he walks on the Senate subway on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks to reporters as he walks on the Senate subway on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Washington. | Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says China has been largely able to hide government atrocities against Muslim ethnic group

Folded into legislation the Senate passed this week aimed at competing economically with China is a mandate for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics in light of ongoing human rights abuses, including the Uyghur genocide.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., pushed the amendment in response to the Chinese Communist Party’s continued atrocities against people in Hong Kong and the Uyghur population, a Muslim ethnic group in China’s westernmost province.

The Chinese Communist Party’s censorship, repression of religion and minorities and surveillance of its citizens is well known, Romney said during a Senate subcommittee hearing Thursday.

“But when it comes to its genocide of the Uyghur people, China has largely been able to hide what it is perpetrating from the world at large,” he said.

U.S. Senate
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney speaks about the human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in China in this screenshot of a Senate hearing in Washington on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

Kaine said he and Romney are of the opinion that the Olympics in China would create an opportunity to focus attention on the atrocities against the Uyghur people.

Rather than send the traditional delegation of diplomats and White House officials to Beijing, the president should invite Chinese dissidents, religious leaders and ethnic minorities to represent the country, Romney wrote in a New York Times op-ed in March.

Romney, who headed the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, has also called for an economic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which was not included in the bill. An economic and diplomatic boycott should be done in collaboration with NBC, he wrote. NBC owns the broadcast rights to the 2022 Games.

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In the hearing, Romney said there is concern about sponsorships and encouraging companies not to sponsor the Olympics. But companies must buy sponsorships for multiple Games, he said, so they can’t pick and choose a particular country.

“That’s to prevent them from doing what we’d like them to do here, which is boycotting China’s Games,” he said.

Still, Romney wanted to know during the hearing about efforts to prevent China from hiding what is happening to the Uyghurs, whom he said are the victims of the “most heinous human rights abuses on the planet today.”

“I think there are a lot of things that the U.S. can and should do. I think these Olympics are going to be a consular challenge of enormous proportion,” said Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch. “It’s worth pointing out that we did write to all of the top sponsors and to NBC asking what their human rights due diligence strategies were around these Games, and none of them has replied.”

Replied Kaine, “That last answer suggests that we might …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

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