‘Shame on the IOC’: China Shouldn’t Be Olympics Host, Former US Ambassador Says

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) should never have allowed the Chinese regime to host the Winter Olympic Games, according to Andrew Bremberg, a former U.S. representative to the Office of the United Nations. “What else does a country need to do in terms of terrible human rights abuses and bad behavior to merit a response from international organizations like the IOC?” Bremberg said. Bremberg, who’s currently the president and CEO of the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, made the remarks during a recent interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders.” “It’s incredibly distressing … to see the organization allow itself to be used yet again as a vehicle for the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] propaganda,” he said. “That is what we saw that happened in 2008, both from a domestic and international perspective.” When Beijing hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 2008, many criticized the IOC’s decision, given the regime’s severe human rights violations. While rights groups pleaded with the IOC to not make the same mistake again with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the international organization ignored the calls and selected Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan, in July 2015. China has a long record of human rights abuses, targeting dissidents, Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims, and Falun Gong adherents, as well as the recent clampdown in Hong Kong following the enactment of a draconian national security law. Policies enacted in the Xinjiang region, where more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities are held in internment camps, have been designated by several Western governments—including the United States—as genocide and crimes against humanity. The IOC is hardly the only one to blame, according to Bremberg. “It’s a failure of leadership of much of the world, of the international community,” he said. Bremberg applauded Washington for the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games. However, he said the United States needs to do more. “I’d love to see the president of the United States talk sometime in the next three weeks. … Why is there a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics? What is happening in China today?” he said. “It is an opportunity for our leaders to say, ‘Well, you may be seeing or hearing this [CCP] propaganda. But we’re going to tell you the truth of what’s really happening in China.’ “If we come out of this in March with the American population much more aware of what’s happening [in China], that’s a way for us to turn this into a defeat for the Chinese Communist Party.” Demonstrators supporting Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers take part in a protest against the Chinese Communist Party as they march along Regent Street toward the Chinese Embassy in London on Oct. 1, 2021. (Matt Dunham, File/AP Photo) US Companies Bremberg also said he hopes that a recent report published by his foundation and U.S.-based independent consultancy Horizon Advisory will start a process in which U.S. firms “change their behavior” with regard to the Chinese regime. The report, “Corporate Complicity Scorecard,” assesses eight U.S. companies on whether they directly or indirectly contributed to China’s military modernization, surveillance, and human rights violations. The report found that two Chinese firms that identify Dell—one of the eight companies under scrutiny—as a partner have “assisted in [the] development of surveillance and censorship systems in China,” including in Xinjiang. “Dell is also directly involved in more explicitly problematic areas of Chinese government programming, including military modernization and surveillance,” the report reads. The report also found that Dell has partnered with commercial businesses that support the Chinese regime’s “military-civil fusion” (MCF) strategy. Dell also has worked with regional Chinese governments, such as with their “smart city” projects. The U.S. State Department has warned about China’s MCF strategy, saying that it involves “acquiring and diverting the world’s cutting-edge technologies—including through theft—in order to achieve military dominance.” Two other companies in the report—GE and Intel—were also found to have connections to the strategy, with the former appearing to be involved in technology-sharing with Chinese “core players” in MCF and the latter investing in Chinese high-tech and MCF firms. If U.S. companies fail to change, it would be up to Congress and U.S. policymakers to “force that change,” according to Bremberg. He applauded Congress for approving the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in banning imports from Xinjiang. The legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2021. “I think we need to see Congress take more action to make clear to companies that direct involvement in the surveillance state of China is not going to be allowed or direct involvement with militarization by the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] with China can’t be allowed,” Bremberg said.

‘Shame on the IOC’: China Shouldn’t Be Olympics Host, Former US Ambassador Says

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) should never have allowed the Chinese regime to host the Winter Olympic Games, according to Andrew Bremberg, a former U.S. representative to the Office of the United Nations.

“What else does a country need to do in terms of terrible human rights abuses and bad behavior to merit a response from international organizations like the IOC?” Bremberg said.

Bremberg, who’s currently the president and CEO of the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, made the remarks during a recent interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders.”

“It’s incredibly distressing … to see the organization allow itself to be used yet again as a vehicle for the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] propaganda,” he said. “That is what we saw that happened in 2008, both from a domestic and international perspective.”

When Beijing hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 2008, many criticized the IOC’s decision, given the regime’s severe human rights violations. While rights groups pleaded with the IOC to not make the same mistake again with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the international organization ignored the calls and selected Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan, in July 2015.

China has a long record of human rights abuses, targeting dissidents, Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims, and Falun Gong adherents, as well as the recent clampdown in Hong Kong following the enactment of a draconian national security law.

Policies enacted in the Xinjiang region, where more than 1 million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities are held in internment camps, have been designated by several Western governments—including the United States—as genocide and crimes against humanity.

The IOC is hardly the only one to blame, according to Bremberg.

“It’s a failure of leadership of much of the world, of the international community,” he said.

Bremberg applauded Washington for the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games. However, he said the United States needs to do more.

“I’d love to see the president of the United States talk sometime in the next three weeks. … Why is there a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics? What is happening in China today?” he said. “It is an opportunity for our leaders to say, ‘Well, you may be seeing or hearing this [CCP] propaganda. But we’re going to tell you the truth of what’s really happening in China.’

“If we come out of this in March with the American population much more aware of what’s happening [in China], that’s a way for us to turn this into a defeat for the Chinese Communist Party.”

Epoch Times Photo
Demonstrators supporting Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers take part in a protest against the Chinese Communist Party as they march along Regent Street toward the Chinese Embassy in London on Oct. 1, 2021. (Matt Dunham, File/AP Photo)

US Companies

Bremberg also said he hopes that a recent report published by his foundation and U.S.-based independent consultancy Horizon Advisory will start a process in which U.S. firms “change their behavior” with regard to the Chinese regime.

The report, “Corporate Complicity Scorecard,” assesses eight U.S. companies on whether they directly or indirectly contributed to China’s military modernization, surveillance, and human rights violations.

The report found that two Chinese firms that identify Dell—one of the eight companies under scrutiny—as a partner have “assisted in [the] development of surveillance and censorship systems in China,” including in Xinjiang.

“Dell is also directly involved in more explicitly problematic areas of Chinese government programming, including military modernization and surveillance,” the report reads.

The report also found that Dell has partnered with commercial businesses that support the Chinese regime’s “military-civil fusion” (MCF) strategy. Dell also has worked with regional Chinese governments, such as with their “smart city” projects.

The U.S. State Department has warned about China’s MCF strategy, saying that it involves “acquiring and diverting the world’s cutting-edge technologies—including through theft—in order to achieve military dominance.”

Two other companies in the report—GE and Intel—were also found to have connections to the strategy, with the former appearing to be involved in technology-sharing with Chinese “core players” in MCF and the latter investing in Chinese high-tech and MCF firms.

If U.S. companies fail to change, it would be up to Congress and U.S. policymakers to “force that change,” according to Bremberg.

He applauded Congress for approving the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in banning imports from Xinjiang. The legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2021.

“I think we need to see Congress take more action to make clear to companies that direct involvement in the surveillance state of China is not going to be allowed or direct involvement with militarization by the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] with China can’t be allowed,” Bremberg said.

Representatives for Dell didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time. The Epoch Times has previously requested comments from GE and Intel.

Actions

Bremberg said there are a number of actions that people can take, starting by not watching the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

“How much moral courage does it take for you not to watch the Olympics, not to buy a product made with forced labor from China,” he said.

Bremberg recommended that people share short videos available on the foundation’s Twitter account as they talk with their friends about the Winter Games in the coming weeks, so that more individuals can be informed of what’s actually happening in China.

The 2022 Winter Games started in Beijing on Feb. 4 and are scheduled to end on Feb. 20.

“If we can’t start taking those actions ourselves, we’re kidding ourselves if we think our political leaders are going to take much … harder actions if we can’t do this,” Bremberg said.


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Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.


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Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."