On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, just prior to the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics, sent a confusing, two-sided message to U.S. athletes in China. While saying the U.S. has an "urgent moral duty to shine a bright light" on China's human rights abuses, Pelosi also warned them not to incur the wrath of the Chinese government because it is "ruthless."
Speaking at a Congressional Executive Commission on China hearing, Pelosi told U.S. athletes that they were in China to compete athletically, not to voice their political opinions. On the other hand, she criticized the International Olympic Committee for not acting to confront the Chinese government for their atrocities.
"I know there is a temptation on the part of some to speak out while they are there," Pelosi said. "I respect that, but I also worry about what the Chinese government might do to their reputations, to their families.
"Now the IOC, aided by corporate sponsors, once again turns a blind eye with the 2022 Winter Olympics to bolster their bottom line. If we do not speak out against human rights violations in China, because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out against human rights violations anywhere."
On Monday, lawmakers compelled U.S. Olympic officials to prepare to defend American athletes from Chinese retaliation if they chose to speak out, Reuters news service reported. That came on the heels of the announcement of diplomatic boycotts by the U.S. and other governments concerning the human rights violations by China.
The Chinese government's wrath, under rule Xi Jinping, has been felt across all of society in China. Hong Kong authorities crushed anti-government protests in the city in 2019, and the central government in Beijing passed a national security law aimed at stifling dissent, leading to the arrest of activists and disbandment of civil society groups.
Not to mention the crackdown on Christian churches and Christian activities, which has worsened under Jinping's regime.
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