Sen. Rick Scott of Florida is calling for major Olympic sponsors to demand the 2022 Winter Games be moved out of China because the government is committing what the U.S. is calling genocide against the minority Uighur population and other Muslims in the western part of the country.
The 68-year-old, first-term Republican has sent a letter to the 15 “Worldwide Olympic Partners,” the top tier of International Olympic Committee sponsorship, including Coca-Cola, General Electric, Panasonic, Proctor & Gamble, Toyota and Visa, to demand the Winter Olympiad be relocated from the Chinese capital of Beijing.
"As a sponsor of the IOC, you are uniquely positioned to join in this fight and demand the IOC stand for human rights and remove the games from Communist China, or lose your sponsorship and support," Scott wrote Tuesday to the companies, Fox News reported.
Human rights groups also are pressuring the corporations to demand the event be moved, including a coalition of 190 who have written Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to express “serious concerns” about the company’s support of the Games. Airbnb also is a top-tier sponsor.
The U.S. State Department in January declared China’s actions against the Uighurs a genocide, a finding echoed by the independent non-government group Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy.
Scott condemned not only China but its leader Xi Jinping by name.
"I am sure you agree the crimes committed by General Secretary Xi are horrific,” Scott wrote in his letter. “We cannot give a nation that is so overtly abusing human rights a platform to whitewash its crimes by hosting the Olympic Games.
"Therefore, I am asking you to stand for human rights and freedom, and use your considerable leverage as a sponsor of the 2022 Olympic Games to publicly urge the IOC to move the games to a nation that values human dignity and freedom."
As of 2015, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo had attracted a record $1.3 billion in sponsorship. The Summer Olympics usually attract more sponsors due to their wider audience.
The Beijing Winter Games are scheduled for Feb. 4-20, 2022, and will be the second time the Olympics have been staged in China following the 2008 Summer Games.
The issue of the Uighur Muslims was mentioned by the United States in its first high-level discussions with the Chinese under the Biden administration in Alaska last week, setting off a terse undiplomatic exchange.
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