Republicans Pledge to Sanction Olympics if Any US Athletes Disappear

Republicans Pledge to Sanction Olympics if Any US Athletes Disappear Republicans Pledge to Sanction Olympics if Any US Athletes Disappear

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., has introduced legislation to sanction the International Olympic Committee if China captures any athlete, fan or journalist at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By Luca Cacciatore | Thursday, 03 February 2022 09:02 PM

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., introduced legislation on Thursday to sanction the International Olympic Committee if China captures any athlete, fan, or journalist in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Fox News reported.

The bill, endorsed by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stresses repercussions against the committee if any ''gross violations of internationally recognized human rights'' occur during the Olympic Games, which begin Friday.

''Brave athletes from around the world are planning to boycott tomorrow's opening ceremony in protest of the CCP's ongoing genocide in Xinjiang. But rather than support these athletes' freedom of expression, the IOC has worked to dissuade them from highlighting the CCP's gross violations of human rights,'' Gallagher told the network, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.

''If any athlete or fan at the Olympics pays a price for exercising their internationally recognized rights, the IOC should be deemed complicit in these crimes,'' he added.

The bill cites the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which specifics ''gross violations of internationally recognized human rights'' as prolonged detention without a charge or trial, the disappearance of an individual through abduction or clandestine detention, or inhuman and degrading treatment."

The Olympic committee faced criticism after Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai disappeared following her accusing a Chinese government official of sexual assault last November in a now-deleted social media post.

In a January press conference, Yang Shu, deputy director general of international relations for the Beijing Organizing Committee, said that athletes could face punishment for claiming that China has committed human rights violations.

''Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,'' Shu said at the time.

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