President Joe Biden called on the Major League Baseball (MLB) to move the 2021 All Star Game out of Atlanta as a boycott against Georgia’s new voter law, which he claimed created restrictions for low-income minority voters.
Given Biden’s stance on sports boycotts in the context of Georgia’s new voting law, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board wondered what Biden will do about the 2022 Beijing Olympics which are being hosted by a country where reports of egregious human-rights abuses have continuously emerged.
The MLB intended to play the exhibition game at the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park, but moved the location due to the new voter laws which are aimed to curb alleged voter fraud. Among other things, the law requires voters to provide a photo ID when they submit an absentee ballot.
“Look at what’s happened across the board. The very people who are victimized the most are the people who are the leaders in these various sports,” Biden said Wednesday in response to question from ESPN’s Sage Steele about moving the game. “I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders.”
The WSJ editorial board said they “can’t wait to see what the U.S. President is going to say about China’s voting rules” given his position on the MLB’s Georgia boycott.
“There are no lines at polling places in the Middle Kingdom because there are no polling places, no absentee ballot controversies because there are no ballots,” the board wrote. “The country is run by a leadership cadre of the Chinese Communist Party, and its decisions are ratified by the rubber-stamp National People’s Congress that meets once a year.”
Under the Biden administration, new sanctions were placed against multiple Chinese government officials over their role in the “serious human rights abuses” against Uyghurs, an ethnic minority in China. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in March that Biden and U.S. allies are committed to the anti-CCP stance, saying they have “grave concerns” about China’s “crimes against humanity and genocide.”
Real Clear News reporter Philip Wegmann asked Psaki whether Biden would be making a final determination about the U.S.’s role in the Beijing Olympics on Friday, Psaki said the U.S. Olympic Committee would play a “big role” in the matter, and appeared to dismiss his question before moving on.
Between 900,000 and 1.8 million Muslims have been detained in more than 1,300 concentration camps in Xinjiang — a region that has become infamous for the hundreds of camps where Uyghur Muslims are detained and never charged with crimes.
Individuals have been sent to camps for wearing long beards or refusing alcohol, and mosques and Arabic-language signs have been destroyed or damaged. The camps have also transitioned from reeducation to forced labor, with reports of torture, rape, and sterilization from former detainees.
The Chinese government has also sought to suppress other religious groups like Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity. (RELATED: ‘A Regime That Fears Religion’: New Report Details China’s Crackdown On Religion)
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.” However, the Journal notes that the MLB is trying to expand its business in China while it’s boycotting Georgia over the new voter law.
“Surely Chinese President Xi Jinping would let Mr. Manfred inspect the camps, and why not bring along fellow Georgia boycott enthusiast LeBron James to certify that the Uighurs are cheerful in their work,” the Editorial Board wrote.
In March, Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Republican California Rep. Michelle Steel sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for the Olympics to be moved out of Beijing over the ongoing human rights violations.
“The Olympic charter states the goal of Olympism is to promote ‘a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity,” the lawmakers wrote. “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.”
A coalition of 180 human rights groups, including advocates representing Tibetans, Uyghurs, Inner Mongolians, and residents of Hong Kong, also called for a boycott in February of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, citing Chinese government abuses of ethnic minorities.