Ted Cruz Calls for Olympics to Be Moved Out of China As Tensions Rise Between Beijing and US

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Representative Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) have called for the 2022 Olympic games to be moved out of Beijing, China, on behalf of "democracy and freedom around the world."

The two lawmakers sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday pushing for a location change due to the ongoing human rights violations taking place in the foreign superpower.

"The Olympic charter states the goal of Olympism is to promote 'a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.' It also states the importance of 'respect for universal fundamental ethical principles,'" the letter read.

"Yet, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to be engaged in unfathomable and horrific human rights abuses. We cannot turn a blind eye to the forced labor and torture of the Uyghurs, the persistent repression of dissenting minorities, and the systemic violations of civil liberties in Hong Kong."

The Winter Olympic games are scheduled to take place from February 4 to February 20 in the Chinese capital as well as Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.

"Allowing China to host the Beijing games would put these athletes and the global community in the impossible position of having to forgo the Olympic games in all its importance and pageantry, and celebrating their countries and our freedoms, but at the risk that the CCP will disingenuously claim their participation as a victory," Cruz and Steel wrote to the committee. "We must hold the CCP accountable and protect the freedoms of religion and speech for all humans."

2022 Beijing Olympics countdown clock
A man takes a selfie next to a billboard counting down onto the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on February 8, 2021, in Beijing, China. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is calling for the Olympics to be moved out of Beijing as tensions intensify between the U.S. and China. Fred Lee/Getty Images

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) asserted in an op-ed this month that it was too late to strip Beijing of hosting the games. Instead, he called for targeted economic boycotts of the Olympics to "reduce China's revenues, shut down their propaganda, and expose their abuses."

The Cruz and Steel letter was sent amid rising tensions between the United States and China. The first meeting between the new presidential administration and the Chinese officials took place on Thursday as Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Blinken's opening remarks addressed Chinese activities in places like Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as its cyber attacks on the U.S., that "threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That's why they're not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today."

China's Jiechi pushed back, warning the U.S. against meddling in China's "internal affairs" and accused the U.S. of being condescending in tone. The diplomat also said the U.S. would do well to repair its own "deep seated" problems such as racism.

When asked about the meeting on Friday, President Joe Biden said he was "proud" of the secretary of state.

Newsweek reached out to the IOC for comment on the letter but did not receive responses prior to publication.