Scalia Spotlights

NSI Hosts Debate on Beijing Olympics and Human Rights

Rep. Jennifer Wexton and Rep. Mike Waltz

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) and Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL-6)—two vocal critics of the upcoming Beijing Olympic games—discussed China’s ongoing human rights violations, in a webinar on December 9, hosted by the law school’s National Security Institute (NSI).

The debate comes at a time of heightened tension between the US and China. On December 8 the House unanimously passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, a resolution strongly condemning the concentration camps in the Xinjiang Chinese region, which makes 20% of the world’s cotton. China has reacted denying accusations and threatening “resolute responses”.

Both Wexton and Waltz criticized the role of the International Olympic Committee in Peng Shuai’s case and hinted at the need for reforming international sports. “Major sports events should not be used to legitimize dictatorships,” said Wexton. The participants also pointed at the conflicts of interest that arise from the fact many large American companies are sponsoring the Olympic games.

The US Administration just recently decided it will not send an official US delegation to the 2022 Beijing Olympics in February, joining the calls for Beijing to provide proof that Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is safe. Last month, Shuai accused a top communist party official of sexually assaulting her 3 years ago. Her posts were quickly deleted from Chinese social media and she has not been publicly seen ever since, but for a brief, apparently staged, appearance. On December 2, the Women’s Tennis Association moved to suspend all tournaments in China, in response to its censorship of Peng Shuai.

The debate was moderated by Les Munson, former staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.