Utah Senator Mitt Romney is not in favor of boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as a fellow Republican urges President Joe Biden to do so.
“I am glad that President Biden himself boycotts the Beijing Olympics. I don’t want our athletes to suffer. They have planned their whole lives to be ready right now for this competition, so I don’t want to do things that hurt our athletes, ”he said.
Romney, R-Utah, made the comments Tuesday in an interview in the New York Times’ DC DealBook Policy Project.
Rep. John Kato, RN.Y., sent a letter to Biden on Monday saying the United States must address alleged human rights violations by the Chinese government against the Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic group that has historically lived in the province over western China.
“The actions taken by the Chinese Communist Party are contrary to the values of both the United States and its allies around the world,” Katko wrote. “Participation in an Olympic Games held in a country that is openly committing genocide not only undermines those shared values, but also overshadows the promise of all those who seek free and just societies.”
Romney, who led the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, said he is working with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, to show America’s discontent with China over the Olympics.
“Let’s see if we can’t find some ways to make our concerns about China very, very clear without punishing our athletes,” he said.
That would include encouraging Americans not to travel to China as spectators and framing media coverage in the United States to show what is happening to Uighurs and people in Hong Kong as part of the Olympics broadcast, he said. Romney.
“But actually, by penalizing our athletes, I think it’s an unfair burden for them to have to carry,” he said.
While there was speculation last month that the Summer Games in Tokyo would be canceled this year due to COVID-19, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, left no doubt that they will continue as scheduled.
Romney said those Games must continue because of the athletes, too.
Celebrate the Tokyo Olympics. Athletes have trained their entire lives to be at their best. Limit viewers in person – most of us watch the Games on television anyway. The world awaits inspiration from great competition and global sportsmanship, ”he tweeted in January.
However, China poses a more complicated political problem than COVID-19.
The Chinese Communist Party has reportedly subjected the Uighurs, who live mainly in Xinjiang province, to massive persecution, which could amount to genocide.
“Mr. President, the evidence is clear: the CCP is deliberately and systematically working to eliminate an entire population within its own borders,” Katko, the highest ranking member of the National Security Chamber, wrote in the letter.
Katko urged Biden to work with other nations to celebrate the 2022 Winter Games in a country that values the Olympic Charter, which demands that sport promote a “peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
Romney has said that China poses the greatest threat to freedom, human rights and free enterprise, and will be the main challenge facing the United States in the 21st century. He introduced legislation to protect the economy and national security. He has also called for sanctions against China for alleged forced sterilizations and other coercive measures used to reduce family size among Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
On Tuesday, Romney and three other Republican senators urged the Biden administration to implement a proposed rule that requires universities to disclose their relationships with Confucius Institutes, which are funded by the Chinese Communist Party. The institutes are public educational partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries.
Senators say they have significant concerns about the CCP’s “nefarious” actions and that it is “critically” important for Americans to understand that its propaganda arm runs Confucius Institutes through the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education.
The Confucius Institutes are a propaganda tool of the Chinese Communist Party. We urge the president to implement the proposed rule that requires academic institutions in the United States to disclose their relationships with the Confucius Institutes. We must protect our students. https://t.co/haP98Zx5VV
– Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) February 23, 2021
The House of Utah passed a resolution last week encouraging the closure of all Confucius institutes on university campuses due to national concerns about China’s efforts to conduct spying through the programs.
There are two Confucius Institutes in Utah. The University of Utah is already in the process of closing its program, and the University of Southern Utah is also open to closing its program.