Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday called for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be relocated out of Beijing, urging President Biden to oppose the host city because of China’s human rights record.
“President Biden should make a clear and unequivocal demand that the 2022 Winter Olympics be moved from Beijing unless China comes clean on the origins of COVID-19 and immediately ends persecution of the Uyghur people,” Pence said to applause in a speech at The Heritage Foundation on U.S.-China relations.
“The Olympics should only take place in countries that respect fundamental human rights and the well-being of mankind,” Pence added.
The former vice president, who delivered two major policy speeches on China while in office, pointed to the relocation of the 2022 games as one of several actions Biden and his team could take to get tougher on China.
Pence also called for the administration to consider halting U.S. funding of scientific research in China in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic originating there. He also suggested Biden should accelerate efforts to decouple the American economy from Chinese industries to protect U.S. interests and improve domestic supply chains.
A number of conservatives have called on the Biden administration to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing or for the event to be moved out of the country over China’s repression of Uyghur Muslims, which both the Trump and Biden administrations have described as genocide, and Beijing’s crackdown on human rights in Hong Kong.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in April a boycott was not being considered by the administration after a State Department spokesperson suggested it could be discussed.
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