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Photo: Visual China Group via Getty Images

U.S. lawmakers have joined activists and Chinese ethnic minorities calling on the International Olympic Committee to move or postpone the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics unless the Chinese government ends its Uyghur genocide.

Why it matters: Politicians and human rights groups have increasingly urged the Chinese government to halt its abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, which reportedly include forced labor, sexual violence and torture.

  • Some see a boycott of the Olympics as the most direct way of deterring the Chinese government.

What they're saying: "The IOC is on course to set a dark precedent where the behavior of future Olympic host governments is unconstrained by the international spotlight provided by the Olympic Games," Sens. Jeff Merkley (D), Marco Rubio (R) and Reps. Jim McGovern (D) and Chris Smith (R) wrote in a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach.

  • No Olympics should be held in a country "whose government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity," they added.
  • "We have seen no evidence that the IOC has taken any steps to press the Chinese government to change its behavior," wrote the lawmakers, who all sit on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

The IOC has previously said that it is not a "super world government" and should not be expected to solve China's political issues, per Reuters.

The big picture: A coalition of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kong advocates have pressed governments, citizens, Olympic committees and athletes to entirely boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics.

  • "The time for talking with the IOC is over," Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute told the AP in May. "If the games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing."
  • The U.S. State Department has said it would discuss a joint boycott of the games with allies and partners. It'd be the United States' first Olympic boycott since Moscow in 1980.

Go deeper

Oct 12, 2021 - World

Companies still optimistic after China's youth gaming restrictions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's new regulation limiting children under 18 to just three hours of online games per week may be devastating for dedicated gamers, but gaming companies — and the advertisers that rely on them — will likely be fine if they can adapt.

Why it matters: China comprises about a quarter of the world's gaming market; the country's mobile gaming industry alone raked in more than $29 billion in 2020.

Evergrande isn't alone

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China Evergrande’s debt problems aren’t an anomaly. Signs of stress are piling up in China’s real estate development sector, and more companies are signaling they may not be able to pay back their debt.

Driving the news: Fellow builder Modern Land asked its bondholders if it could delay a bond payment by three months, and Sinic said it will likely default next week, Reuters reports.

21 mins ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne's spent longer under lockdowns than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.