The House of Representatives passed three separate measures Wednesday night putting diplomatic pressure on both China and the International Olympic Committee related to human rights violations leading up to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.
One of the bills prohibits imports from China’s Xinjiang region where the Chinese government has reportedly oppressed members of the minority Muslim Uighur community. The bill, known as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, passed by a margin of 428-1.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 15: Shuai Peng of China reacts in her first round match against Eugene Bouchard of Canada during day two of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.(Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images) ((Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images))
“If we do not speak out for human rights in China because of commercial or economic ties, we lose all moral authority to speak out against human rights violations anywhere in the world,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Another bill, which passed 427-1, formally condemned “the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity being committed against” the Uighur community and called on President Biden to ask the United Nations to investigate the alleged abuses.
The third measure, which passed 428-0, publicly called out the International Olympic Committee for “legitimizing” China’s official position on the status of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai who has mysteriously disappeared from the public eye after accusing a top Communist Party official of sexually assaulting her.
The IOC’s two video calls with the Grand Slam doubles champion are the only reported contacts Peng has had with people outside China since Nov. 2 when she sent a social media post alleging the sexual assault.
A visitor to the Shougang Park walks past a sculpture for the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Critics have claimed that the IOC is enabling a cover-up by China ahead of the state-backed project to host the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
The IOC faced more questions about Peng on Tuesday at its first news conference since the Women’s Tennis Association, which has been unable to speak to her, suspended all of its tournaments in China.
“We can’t provide you with absolute certainty on anything,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “All we can do is do the best we can in the process that we believe is in the best interests of the well-being of the athlete.”
Beijing is set to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in February. Human rights activists and congressional Republicans have called for a boycott of the event amid international criticism of China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims, its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong, and its policies toward Tibet and Taiwan.
Peng Shuai’s disappearance may be part of President Xi Jinping’s cultural crackdown. (Getty Images)
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” Psaki said.
“The athletes on Team USA have our fully support, we will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home,” Psaki said.
The United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada have joined the United States in its boycott.
Fox News’s Brooke Singman and the Associated Press contributed to this report
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