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Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have called on the Secretary of State Antony Blinken to implement a process to brief all American athletes traveling to the Beijing Winter Olympics on China’s human rights abuses.
In a Wednesday letter penned by Ranking Member Michael McCaul and signed by 14 other GOP committee members, the lawmakers reminded Blinken that the American Values and Security in International Athletics Act (AVSIA) was enacted by President Biden on Dec. 27, 2021 as it was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022.
The act now requires the State Department to brief U.S. athletes competing in international competitions on any “human rights abuses and safety concerns” existent in the host nation.
“Both the executive branch and Congress have designated the CCP’s crimes against Uyghurs as genocide, a rare action reserved for history’s most severe atrocities,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given the historic human rights challenge of the Beijing Winter Olympics, U.S. athletes deserve to be informed of the full breadth of the CCP’s atrocities and malign actions before competing, including the ongoing genocide, the suppression of democracy and dissent, and the attendant risks they face in China.”
The letter explained there is a concern that, while in Beijing, American athletes may express dissent for China’s human rights abuses – which could put their security at risk.
Known human rights abuses coupled with the mysterious disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai in November has prompted Republicans to call for a litany of U.S. responses ranging from an athlete boycott to sanctions against the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The lawmakers again took issue with the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) response to expressed concerns that American athletes could be at risk while in Beijing.
“We can be certain any efforts to stand up for the [People’s Republic of China] downtrodden will come at great risk to those athletes,” the letter to Blinken said. “U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee officials have acknowledged this conundrum but regrettably urged American athletes to selfcensor, stating: ‘The laws of China are distinct and different…The expectation is we abide by the rules of that country’.”
Republicans have asked the secretary to provide details on how the State Department will roll out its new responsibility to brief all athletes, along with all precautions that will be taken to ensure athlete safety while abroad for the Games.
Fox News Digital could not immediately reach the State Department for comment.