Recently House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned American athletes competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing not to speak out against the Chinese government because she feared for their physical safety, even mentioning how ruthless the Chinese government can be. Such a warning reflects her criticism of China’s human rights abuses, most notably the crackdown of Uighurs in Xinjiang, as well as crushing dissent in Tibet and Hong Kong.
Such criticism is ironic given her liberal view and the ties that some Democrats have to China, not to mention the fact that Joe Biden said that the Chinese weren’t bad folks and that they were not competition for us. In addition, she did not criticize China for the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which originated in that country.
Although some athletes have played politics during the Olympics (e.g. Gwen Perry, Chelsea Wolfe), most have the same goal in mind: to compete and to win. Thus it is best to keep politics out of the Olympics, even if it is sometimes easier said than done.
Pelosi’s remarks remind me of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. The Carter Administration decided that the United States would boycott the games due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Although Carter had no legal authority over the U.S. Olympic Committee, he did pressure them into boycotting the games, and even threatened to confiscate the passport of any American athlete who tried to defy the boycott. Despite all the support for the boycott, American athletes did not have the same views. As hurdler Edwin Moses stated “these are our games.”
It should be noted that Pelosi also does not have any authority over the U.S. Olympic Committee, since it is a private organization. And I think the American athletes are aware of how ruthless China is. It should also be noted that Mao Zedong was responsible for the deaths of at least 65 million of his fellow Chinese citizens, most of which occurred during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Nor was Mao afraid of nuclear war, given China having the largest population in the world (in which he was convinced China would be producing more babies than ever in the aftermath).
There have been those who have called for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although I want China to be held accountable for this pandemic, I feel the American athletes should not be deprived of the opportunity to beat those Commie bastards on their own soil.