Feb 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Katko calls on Biden to boycott Beijing Olympics

Rep. John Katko (R-NY) wears a protective mask while walking to the House Floor at the U.S. Capitol

Rep. John Katko (R-NY). Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

John Katko (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, is urging President Biden to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in response to China's acts of genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic and religious minority groups.

What he's saying: "Participation in an Olympics held in a country who is openly committing genocide not only undermines those shared values but casts a shadow on the promise for all those who seek free and just societies," Katko wrote in a letter sent to Biden on Monday.

  • "Before the eyes of the world descend upon China in 2022, I urge you to take action by working with our partners and allies to lead the free nations of the planet in a unified movement to hold this honored contest amongst nations in a country that actually lives up to the values of the Olympic Charter," Katko added.

Katko's letter is also being sent to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the International Olympics Committee.

The big picture: Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) introduced a resolution that called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to withdraw from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing unless the International Olympic Committee finds an alternative site.

  • In 2019, Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) urged NBC not to broadcast the Olympic games because of China's human rights abuses.
  • The White House said on Feb. 3 that the Biden administration did not have any plans to boycott the games.

Go deeper: New geopolitical fears surround 2022 Beijing Olympics

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Katko was not the first U.S. official to call for a boycott. Information on Rep. Waltz's resolution has also been added.

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