Nikki Haley, Sen. Risch warn US Olympians about lack of 'privacy and freedom' they will have in China
Chinese app required for Olympics raises privacy concerns
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Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Jim Risch, R-Idaho, congratulated the U.S. Olympianson making it to the games while warning China doesn’t share the same values as America.
The two Republicans published an opinion piece in USA Today on Monday giving kudos to Team USA as athletes head to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Amid the congratulations, though, Haley and Risch warned the athletes that they will not have the same "rights" in China that they are "accustomed to" back home in the United States.
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Nikki Haley, the former Governor of South Carolina and Ambassador to the UN, stumps for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), during a campaign event in McLean, Virginia, July 14, 2021. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
"This year’s Winter Olympics is being held in a high-risk and potentially dangerous political environment," they wrote. "No one traveling to China will have the privacy and freedom he or she is accustomed to in the United States or other Western countries."
"Additionally, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made it clear it will defer to Chinese domestic law when it comes to athletes’ fundamental human rights," the Republicans continued.
Risch told Fox News Digital in a Monday afternoon email that Americans "need to know there is a dark and sinister reality behind what we will be seeing on TV" during the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
"The Chinese government, ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, seeks to undermine basic human rights, like freedoms of expression, religion, assembly, speech, and individual privacy," Risch said. "Team U.S.A. deserves every bit of our praise and support, but I want them to be clear-eyed about the realities on the ground in Beijing."
China is currently engaged in a state-sponsored genocide against the nation’s Uyghur Muslim population — something critics of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have knocked the Olympics and corporate sponsors over.
In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, exile Tibetans use the Olympic Rings as a prop as they hold a street protest against the holding of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, in Dharmsala, India. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia, File)
"In November, Chinese Olympian Peng Shuai was silenced and disappeared," Haley and Risch wrote. "She was silenced by the same government that is hosting the Olympic Games in which you will participate."
"This forced disappearance, the Chinese government’s ongoing genocide against Uyghurs, its other severe human rights abuses and crackdowns, and the IOC’s unwillingness to put human rights ahead of its lucrative relationship with Beijing are important issues that cannot be ignored," they continued.
The pair warned that the Winter Olympics will put a "spotlight on China" amid the litany of human rights abuses being perpetrated by the Chinese government that "has near full control over all business, media, telecommunications, courts of law and even international events."
Shuai Peng of China reacts in her first round match against Eugene Bouchard of Canada during day two of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Fred Lee/Getty Images)
"It has cameras that cover every inch of Beijing, and it includes government-created software that tracks every single thing you do on your phone in China, or while using Chinese websites and apps here at home," they wrote.
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"This invasive system is not for the general public’s benefit," Haley and Risch warned. "It is designed to take away individual privacy and undermine basic human rights, like freedom of expression, religion, assembly and speech to ensure total compliance with the CCP."
Friday marks the start of the Games amid the COVID-19 pandemic that some have argued may have started in a Wuhan laboratory.