A bipartisan panel in the U.S. Congress is pressing corporations to pull off their sponsorship of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over the country’s human rights scandals unless the event is moved somewhere else.
Members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on Tuesday, July 27 alleged that if corporations continue to sponsor the sports event, they would be ignoring the ethical obligation to boycott China, a country notorious for its human rights abuse, Bloomberg reported.
In a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, representative Chris Smith said that subsidizing the sports event held in Beijing would contribute to “the interests of the government of China, which will utilize the Olympics as a platform to showcase its governance model, all while signaling that crimes up to and including genocide should not interfere with business as usual.”
Smith explicitly demanded corporations, including Airbnb (ABNB.O), Coca-Cola (KO.N), Intel (INTC.O), Visa Inc (V.N), and Procter & Gamble (PG.N) to pull off their sponsorship from the Olympics until it changes its host location.
While some did not comment, others claimed that they had no involvement in appointing the host site.
“We do not make decisions on these host locations. We support and follow the athletes wherever they compete,” said Paul Lalli, Coca-Cola’s global vice president for human rights, per Reuters.
“In China we are required to follow local laws and regulations,” said Airbnb’s head of Olympics and Paralympics partnership David Holyoke, adding that “human rights are core to our values.”
Beijing has insisted its government does not commit such activity and goes back that such allegations are lies to harm China.
Such as in a press briefing in Beijing this Wednesday, July 28, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian stated “The relevant remarks of the legislators are full of arrogance, ignorance, and lies. It is a typical U.S.-style farce that will gather no support.”
At least, Intel out of the rest said they believed China was committing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.
“I’ve read the State Department report. I’ve studied it, and I believe its conclusions,” said Steve Rodgers, executive vice president and general counsel for Intel.
Other executives said they recognized the US government’s findings and they supported human rights but did not join the voice of criticizing China.
Democratic Representative Tom Malinowski had chastised that they were afraid of losing profits in China.
“You are afraid of them in a way that you are not afraid of critics in the United States. I think that’s shameful,” Malinowski told Lalli, referring to Coca-cola’s political involvement with voting rights restrictions in its home state of Georgia.
Human rights abuse issues in China have been happening for decades, from torture to forced organ harvesting, and forced labor. And the victims of such abuses came from religious groups, most recently the Uighurs, all of which are innocent communities.
President Joe Biden’s administration concurred with the earlier Trump government’s judgment that the detention camps and other atrocities constituted genocide.
The U.S. was not alone in condemning China for its genocide practice either. By 2020, there had been nearly 40 Western countries that criticized the Communist government for its treatment of minority groups, and national security law on human rights in Hong Kong, the AP reported.