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This piece was originally published in the Houston Chronicle
February 16, 2022

History will remember the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as a tragedy and disgrace. While the Chinese Communist Party desperately wants people to see its regime in a positive light during the games, Americans should turn its gaze instead to the CCP’s spying on international athletes, its cynical use of the games to advance its own political agenda, its long history of human rights abuses, and its brutal oppression of the people of China. That’s the true story of Beijing 2022.

What’s happening to our athletes is unprecedented — and unacceptable. China’s spying is so bad that the FBI has urged Team USA to use “burner” phones, while leaving its normal phones back home in the states. Since surveillance is built into basically the entire Chinese telecommunications system, communist agents are likely listening to everything they say and watching everything they do. Worst of all, the regime has threatened “punishment” for anyone who doesn’t toe the party line. And it’s not just athletes. So far, at least one reporter has been dragged away by Chinese officials on live TV before finishing his report later.

Our athletes have good reason to criticize the CCP, especially when it comes to human rights. Last year, the regime kidnapped and silenced one of its fellow Olympians, Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star who accused a senior Chinese official of assaulting her, which embarrassed the Communist Party. The CCP doesn’t want anyone to draw attention to her plight, and enlisted the International Olympic Committee to help sweep her story under the rug. While the Women’s Tennis Association has rallied to her defense, the CCP has gone on to use the Winter Olympics to apparently force her to deny her earlier accusations and retire. It’s all part of a propaganda plan.

Nor does the CCP want anyone to utter a word about the atrocities they have committed against the Uyghurs. The Communist Party has subjected them to mass interment in concentration camps, forced labor, brainwashing and suppressed Uyghur birth rates as part of a comprehensive campaign to destroy their religion and culture. There’s only one word to describe what’s happening to the Uyghurs: genocide. This is one word the CCP would like to whitewash in the coverage of the Olympics, and they’ve been using online disinformation tactics to do so.

The Uyghurs aren’t the CCP’s only victims. So are basically all the country’s 1.4 billion citizens. Authorities arrested countless people before the games, including human rights activists. The people of China live in the world’s worst surveillance state. Their natural rights and freedoms — from privacy to speech to religion — are all but non-existent. In fact, China is growing less free and more totalitarian by the day.

Worst of all, the CCP is spreading its oppression worldwide. While our athletes compete to win in the Olympic games, Beijing is waging a global fight for tyranny over freedom. The CCP is undermining the values that underpin the democratic world, normalizing its dictatorship on the world stage, and bullying its neighbors economically and militarily. The CCP think its time has come. More importantly, they think America’s time has passed.

They’re wrong, of course. But America must make them realize it, and fast. The two of us have, respectively, strongly pushed back on China at the United Nations and Congress. The House Republican China Task Force, which one of us chairs, has also released the most comprehensive plan to combat China in U.S. history. Yet as important as that is, what our country needs more than anything else is moral clarity. It’s time to acknowledge what Communist China is, what it wants, and what it’s already doing to its own people — and ours.

The Winter Olympics should spark such clarity. The Beijing games are a massive propaganda exercise for the regime, presenting everything the CCP want us to see and obscuring its evil abuse. From Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hong Konger activists, to reporters, to Members of Congress, some have already spoken out against the CCP’s genocide Olympics. The rest of the United States should join the fight.

Nikki Haley served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2019. Michael McCaul represents Texas’ 10th congressional district and serves as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the House Republican China Task Force.