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Lawmakers warn of danger to Olympic athletes, ask Blinken to inform US team bound for Beijing

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Lawmakers warn of danger to Olympic athletes, ask Blinken to inform US team bound for Beijing

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Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are sounding the alarm over the safety of American athletes at the Beijing Winter Olympics next week, calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to notify athletes of rights abuses of humans in China.

In a letter to Mr Blinken, lawmakers said athletes could be at risk if they speak out about China’s human rights record.

“The seriousness of the human rights crisis in China is very likely to motivate American athletes to speak out. Some have already done so,” they wrote. “We can be certain that any effort to defend the underdogs of the PRC will carry great risks for these athletes.”

The letter, led by the committee’s ranking Republican, Representative Michael T. McCaul of Texas, also asked Mr. Blinken to brief the athletes in accordance with US policy that requires such briefings.

“Given the historic human rights challenge of the Beijing Winter Olympics, American athletes deserve to be informed of the full extent of the CCP’s atrocities and malign actions prior to competition, including the ongoing genocide, suppression of democracy and dissent, and the risks that it faces in China,” the lawmakers wrote.

The annual defense policy bill that President Biden signed into law in December called for the State Department to “inform U.S. athletes participating in international athletic competitions about human rights abuses and security concerns of certain host countries”.

They asked Mr. Blinken to respond with the State Department’s plans to notify athletes and “what steps the Department has taken to ensure the safety of U.S. participants should they choose to exercise their freedom of speech during Beijing. 2022”.

Mr Biden announced a diplomatic boycott of the games last month, citing the PRC’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights violations”.

The games are expected to start next month.



Lawmakers warn of danger to Olympic athletes, ask Blinken to inform US team bound for Beijing

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