Rich Lowry: The IOC is a cowardly servant of Beijing


Rich Lowry

It should be a rule of thumb that the Olympics should not be held in countries which operate concentration camps.

If this appears to you to be an unreasonable request, you are not fit to sit on the International Olympic Committee. The IOC has stubbornly defended Beijing as the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, even as the Chinese Communist Party continues its campaign of relentless barbarism against the Uyghurs.

The Biden administration has just announced a so-called diplomatic boycott of the games, a gesture of disapproval that won’t hinder the IOC’s propaganda stunt on the world’s most dangerous regime.

The IOC is the World Sports Health Organization. When China disappeared female tennis star Peng Shuai for bringing a sexual assault charge against a former senior government official, the IOC gladly aided the regime’s crisis PR for fear the shocking incident does not derail the games.

IOC President Thomas Bach had a video call with Peng where she said everything was fine and Bach pretended to take her insurance at face value. Of course, Peng was not free to speak out, but part of Bach’s job now is to look the other way at China’s blatant abuses.

China is very fortunate to deal with international organizations – with the exception of the Women’s Tennis Association, which suspends tournaments in China – which are disrespectful of themselves.

The IOC follows in the footsteps of companies, financiers and sports leagues who start by wanting to do business with China and end up complicit in the crimes of the regime by remaining silent or by explaining them.

The difference is that the IOC pretends to act in favor of high ideals. Bach likes to quote the Olympic Charter according to which Olympism exists “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humanity, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”.

Putting sport at the service of China does the opposite in every respect. Chinese autocrat Xi Jinping was open to the political importance of the Olympics: “Organizing a great 2022 Games is a major task for the Party and the country, and it is a solemn commitment to the international community. “

Here, the interests of the CCP and the IOC – as well as those of the corporate sponsors of the games – coincide.

The last time China hosted the Olympics, the Summer Games in 2008, it used the opening ceremony to put on a massive and memorable spectacle aimed at strengthening the regime. Beijing promised reforms to get the games, then, true to form, embarked on an even more brutal crackdown.

If the 2008 Beijing Games were misguided, next year’s Winter Olympics are a complete parody. The atrocities in Xinjiang province are common knowledge, and the Hong Kong cancellation is progressing rapidly. No one who crosses the regime is immune to imprisonment or worse. China openly threatens Taiwan with an invasion. Indeed, China could be at war with the United States within a year or two after using the presence of our athletes, among others, to strengthen the reign of its dictator for life.

Bach insists that the IOC must always be politically neutral. As Michael Mazza of the American Enterprise Institute points out, the IOC banned gambling in apartheid-era South Africa.

Neutrality does not exist when it comes to a global police state for which politics is a matter of life and death. The games are not hosted by Switzerland or Norway – beautiful, law-abiding countries with good ski slopes – but a revengeful power that flouts human dignity and poses a clear and present danger to international peace.

The IOC could have taken a release from these games at any time. Instead, his attitude will be, “Enjoy snowboarding, not to mention the concentration camps. “

Rich Lowry is a union columnist. He’s on Twitter @RichLowry.

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