US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a "diplomatic boycott" of the Winter Olympics that are scheduled to take place in Beijing next year, over the human rights violations of Uyghurs in China.
Speaking at a hearing of Congress' Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Pelosi advocated for the United States to withhold any official delegation from traveling to the Games but allowing for athletes to compete in Beijing in 2022, reported The Hill.
"We cannot proceed as if nothing is wrong about the Olympics going to China. That may be a fait accompli, it may not be possible to stop that," she said. "Here's what I propose, and join those who are proposing, is a diplomatic boycott." "Let's honour them at home," she added, referencing international athletes.
"Let's not honour the Chinese government by having heads of state go to China to show their support for their athletes. When they come home, let's show them even more ... respect, adulation, really, for what they have done," she further said.
Pelosi also warned that sending an official delegation could undercut US efforts to sound the alarm about human rights abuses across the globe.
Noting that the US has recognized China's treatment of the Uyghurs as a genocide, she warned that failure to push back on Beijing's clampdown could enable further abuses.
"For heads of state to go to China in light of a genocide that is ongoing, while you're sitting there in your seats, really begs the question, 'What moral authority do you have to speak about human rights anywhere in the world if you're willing to pay your respects to the Chinese government as they commit genocide?" she said.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Early this year, the United States become the first country in the world to declare the Chinese actions in Xinjiang as "genocide". In February, both the Canadian and Dutch parliaments adopted motions recognising the Uyghur crisis as genocide. The latter became the first parliament in Europe to do so. In April, the United Kingdom also declared China's ongoing crackdown in Xinjiang a "genocide".