House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday urged US athletes competing in the Beijing Winter Olympics to keep mum on China’s human rights abuses because the country’s government is “ruthless.”
Pelosi issued the warning during testimony at a Congressional-Executive Commission on China. She acknowledged the US has a moral obligation to condemn the rights violations – but insisted the Olympic games were not the proper venue for athletes to voice their concerns.
“If we do not speak out against human rights violations in China, because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out against human rights violations anywhere,” Pelosi said.
But addressing athletes, she added: “Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government because they are ruthless.”
Pelosi slammed the International Olympic Committee – saying the group “turns a blind eye” to Beijing’s rights violations.
Rights groups have long criticized the IOC for awarding the Games to China, citing its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.
The US has deemed the treatment of the minority groups genocide. China has denied allegations of human rights abuses.