In December, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia all announced diplomatic boycotts against the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, and since then, several other nations around the world have joined the boycott.
A diplomatic boycott means that government officials from those nations will not attend the Olympic Games. This sent an important message to the citizens of those countries that attending the games even as spectators is immoral and at odds with the spirit of their own nation.
The Chinese Communist Party knew this, and in a preemptive attempt to avoid the embarrassment of empty bleachers, it made a decision on Jan. 17 not to sell spectator tickets to people from outside China’s mainland, and invite in controlled groups instead.
All this was done of course, under the cover of combatting the “grave and complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.” To dramatize this point, NBC said the network would not send any of their sports announcing teams to the actual games to cover them in person.
The reason behind the diplomatic boycott are the many communist regime’s crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang region of western China. The mistreatment of Uyghurs is so bad that the U.S. State Department has declared China’s acts a genocide.
Since 2017 more than a million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been sent to forced “reeducation camps” that include compulsory abortion and sterilization while at least another 80,000 have been conscripted into slave labor in factories, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The Institute says this is a conservative number, and it is believed those being forced into compulsory labor is many more.
Despite this, the Institute says that as recently as 2019, 82 major corporations are “directly or indirectly benefitting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through abusive labor transfer programs,” including Abercrombie & Fitch, BMW, Calvin Klein, Gap, General Motors Google, Hitachi, HP, Jaguar, Lacoste, Mercedes, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Nike, Nintendo, Nokia, Polo Puma, Ralph Lauren, Samsung, Sketchers, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret and Zara.
If for a moment, you have any doubt about what China’s citizens are experiencing, keep in mind that the conditions at some of these factories are so bad that many of the workers take their own life to escape their misery. To prevent this and maintain their flow of labor, some workers at are literally required to sign no-suicide pledges to ensure they continue to continue to spend what remains of their lives toiling away in virtual slavery.
Recently, several major U.S. corporations such as Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Intel, Visa and Procter & Gamble have all come under fire for investing about $100 million in Olympic sponsorships, making the case that despite human rights abuses, ‘China is an exception.’
“While the sponsors have faced protests by human rights activists in several countries, they have largely brushed them aside, choosing instead to keep China, and its emerging class of nationalistic consumers, happy,” wrote the New York Times on Jan. 28. “Collectively, the top 13 Olympic sponsors have contracts with the International Olympic Committee.
On Jan. 29 the Washington Times published a column illuminating just how deep this unorthodox relationship goes, reporting that U.S. investment funds are purchasing Chinese sovereign bonds and shares of sanctioned companies while “exchange traded funds (EFTs) and indexes… include thousands of Chinese companies not directly listed in America’s financial markets.”
The result of this unsavory economic collusion is the citizenry of the free world financing an aggressive, tyrannical, warlike regime that is seeking to deprive all of us of our own freedom.
Although we do not have the power to compel U.S. companies to divest themselves of fueling the Chinese communist regime, we have great power as consumers by not buying the products of company’s who profit from slave labor.
We can also decline to watch the networks that broadcast the Olympic games this year to send a message that the free world finds this kind of economic collusion unacceptable, and that we will not turn a blind eye, pretending there is no difference between holding the games in Beijing as opposed to Tokyo.
As consumers and viewers in the free world, can send NBC a message by turning the channel, and declining to participate as spectators.
This is the difference between a capitalist and socialist society.
In a free enterprise system, the people have the ultimate power—they can remove their democratically elected officials by voting against them, and they can shape the direction of the marketplace by choosing which products to buy.
Those companies sponsoring the Olympics games and airing the event rely on commercial support from viewers. The less viewers they have, the less people watch their commercials. When commercials don’t get viewers, ratings decline and networks lose future advertising revenue.
We do not believe it is moral to participate in any event, regardless of how honorable the original intent of the event itself once was when it avails itself to collaborate with tyrannical regimes that practice genocide, slavery and totalitarianism.
Let us not forget that in 1980, even the athletes from Team USA boycotted the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow to protest the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviet Union in turn boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
In 2014, many U.S. officials declined to attend the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi as a statement against the mistreatment of the LGBTQ community in Russia.
In addition to the oppression and enslavement of the Uyghur population, there is the continued erosion of rights in Hong Kong, unlawful detention of political prisoners in Tibet, persecution of anyone who defies the regime and unjustified militarization of the South China Sea.
At some point, this immoral collusion between democratic Western countries and the Chinese communist regime has to stop, and as the saying goes, there’s no time better than the present. There has to be a line between good and evil. Otherwise, it begs the question:
What does America stand for?
What do we stand for as human beings who say we support human rights and freedom?
Fortunately, some members of the U.S. Congress have taken such a stand against China. In July a bipartisan Congressional panel exposed those U.S. corporate sponsors participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, outright accusing them of prioritizing profit above ethics.
Republican Rep. Chris Smith said such companies needed to reconsider their “ostensible commitment to human rights” participating in an Olympics in which the host country is “actively committing human rights abuses,” while Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski refused to hear excuses about the regime impeding travel for Uyghurs and Tibetans, saying to one corporate executive, “You’re just completely absolving yourself of responsibility for being complicit in abject discrimination.”
We agree with Reps. Smith and Malinowski, and believe that, as individuals we have the power to make a difference. There are many things we can do at the ballot box, the marketplace and by speaking out to take a stand. For now however, taking a stand for freedom has never been easier:
Just change the channel or turn off your television set.
Send a message to NBC and China’s Olympic corporate sponsors that if they try to profit by collaborating with dictatorships who enslave people, ultimately, it’s going to cost them.
Together, we can make a difference, and we have the right to do so—because that’s what freedom is all about.
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ADN AMERICA is a bilingual news organization providing breaking news in real-time, in-depth analysis and political reportage to Hispanics, the fastest-growing demographic in the United States, while also covering Latin America and other international regions and events.
Photo “Olumpic Skiing” by Jon Wick CC2.0 and “Watching TV” is by D.Reichardt CC2.0.