Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is worried about U.S. athletes going to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, down to their very DNA codes.
The Senator sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday expressing his concerns over the security measures that will be taken to keep athletes secure from China’s “most invasive domestic surveillance system,” and possible attempts to get the athletes’ DNA.
“In 2022, thousands of world-class athletes will gather to compete in China. Their DNA will present an irresistible target for the [Chinese Communist Party],” Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in the letter. “Thus, we should expect that the Chinese government will attempt to collect genetic samples of Olympians at the Games, perhaps disguised as testing for illegal drugs or COVID-19.”
Cotton said he advocates for the international Olympic Committee to re-bid the games to a “free” nation, but short of that, take all “necessary precautions” to guarantee the safety of the athletes, their families, and friends that will travel to China for the games.
In February, a group of 180 human rights organizations urged governments around the world to boycott the planned winter games due to the communist nation’s treatment of minorities.
“As human rights experts predicted, this decision proved to be hugely misplaced; not only did China’s human rights record not improve but violations increased substantially without rebuke,” the coalition stated in a story from The Hill at the time. “Now, in 2021, we find ourselves back in the same position with the IOC who are refusing to act despite the clear evidence of genocide and widespread and worsening human rights failures.”
The IOC responded to the coalition’s letter, saying one of its committee’s listened to several non-governmental organizations, including human rights concerns before finalizing the site choice for the games.
"These issues were and are raised with the government and local authorities," the statement said. "We received assurances that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be respected in the context of the games."
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said at the time that the calls for a boycott were “highly irresponsible.”
“Attempts to interfere with and disrupt the normal preparation and holding of the Olympic Games out of political motives are highly irresponsible,” Wang said. “Such a move will not be supported by the international community and will never succeed.”
Despite being the country that spawned the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese officials said the country is confident in its ability to control the virus with lockdowns, quarantines, contact tracing and using masks, The Hill report said.
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