Move 2022 Winter Olympics out of China, N.J. congressman says. He wants House support.


Legislation to help the U.S. compete with China will include a provision calling for a plan of action to move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of Beijing if Rep. Chris Smith has his way.

An amendment by Smith, R-4th Dist., to have the U.S. lead an effort to move what he’s dubbed the “genocide Olympics” failed on a party-line vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But he said he would try to get the amendment onto the House floor for another vote.

“The United States must send a strong message that we will not tolerate the horrific abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party,” Smith said.

“To think that [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping would be welcoming athletes and spectators while simultaneously butchering the people of Xinjiang is unconscionable. A change in venue is possible if there is a political will by the international community for it, and we must insist upon it.”

Both the House bill and similar legislation that passed the Senate last month are designed to help the U.S. better compete with China in the production of semiconductors and other technologies.

The House measure also addresses Chinese actions toward the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority, which the State Department has described as “genocide”; strengthens ties with Taiwan; and makes it easier for residents of Hong Kong, where China has cracked down on political freedom, to emigrate to the U.S.

Smith’s amendment would have required President Joe Biden to develop a plan to pressure the International Olympic Committee to the winter games out of Beijing.

He said he would try to propose the amendment again when the China bill reaches the House floor, but such efforts could be blocked by the House Rules Committee, which sets the rules of debate for all legislation.

In May, Smith used a meeting of a bipartisan House commission on human rights, which he co-chairs, to call for a worldwide boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him at @JDSalant.

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