What Mitt Romney says US should do after EU calls for diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks with audience members following a town hall meeting in Farmington in 2019. Romney
this week is reiterating his push for a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks with audience members following a town hall meeting in Farmington in 2019. Romney this week is reiterating his push for a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)



SALT LAKE CITY – Sen. Mitt Romney reiterated his push for a U.S. diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics after the European Union called on officials to skip the Games in response to continuing human rights abuses by the Chinese government.

"This is the right decision. The U.S. should follow suit," the Utah Republican tweeted Monday.

The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution calling for a boycott. It also called for governments to impose further sanctions on China, provide emergency visas to Hong Kong journalists, and further support Hong Kong residents to move to Europe, according to the Guardian.

All of Europe's mainstream political groups, including the center-right European People's Party group of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the centrists of France's Emmanuel Macron, favored the resolution.

The resolution calls for EU officials and member states to decline all government and diplomatic invitations to the 2022 Winter Games "unless the Chinese government demonstrates a verifiable improvement in the human rights situation in Hong Kong, the Xinjiang Uyghur region, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and elsewhere in China."

Beijing has so far resisted calls for it to improve its human rights record in the face of an Olympic boycott movement, instead denying any wrongdoing and accusing countries of interfering in internal affairs, the Guardian reported.

In calling for a diplomatic and economic boycott earlier this year, Romney cited a list of China's human rights abuses, including the forced sterilization of Uyghur women and adults being sent to forced labor and concentration camps.

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Romney, who headed the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, said among ethnic Chinese, access to uncensored broadcast news and social media is prohibited. Citizens are surveyed, spied upon, and penalized for attending religious services or expressing dissent, he said.

China also needs to be held accountable for reneging on allowing Hong Kong self-rule, "brutally" suppressing peaceful protests, and incarcerating respected journalists, he said.

"Rather than send the traditional delegation of diplomats and White House officials to Beijing, the president should invite Chinese dissidents, religious leaders, and ethnic minorities to represent us," Romney said in March.

In May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which are scheduled to start next February.

"We cannot proceed as if nothing is wrong about the Olympics going to China," Pelosi told Congress' Human Rights Commission and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China during a hearing on the Games, NBC reported.

"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 any place in the world if you're willing to pay your respects to the Chinese government as they commit genocide?"

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, urged President Joe Biden to stand with the minorities and others oppressed by China, saying the country "deserves our condemnation" over its human rights record.

The Biden administration has not taken a position on a boycott.

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Dennis Romboy

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