Olympic Committee Called Out For Blowing Off China Rights Group

Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Taylor Giles Contributor
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has refused requests to talk with a human rights group over the production of official IOC uniforms.

The Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region previously attempted to find out the steps the committee was taking to be sure the apparel for the Beijing Winter Games was not being made with forced labor, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday.

The coalition believes that the IOC has not offered any credible evidence to prove the official Olympic apparel was not made with forced labor in Xinjiang, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The issue arises around Anta Sports Products, a Chinese sportswear company that supplies the IOC with its official uniforms, the outlet reported. Anta said in 2021 it would continue to use cotton from Xinjiang.

The IOC believes the products from Anta “demonstrate no issue in relation to forced labor,” according to the outlet.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Dec. 8 to ban importing goods made from forced labor in Xinjiang.

When asked by the coalition to have an open discussion on the products, the IOC told the coalition it was “ready to engage in a one-time active listening exercise with the Coalition” but wanted to keep the conversation confidential, according to the outlet.

The coalition ultimately turned down the IOC’s stipulations because the group wanted a two-way conversation and to disclose the dialogue with the IOC, the outlet reported. (RELATED: ‘How Many People Need To Be Tortured?’: NBA Star Enes Kanter Says US Needs To Go Further Following Diplomatic Boycott Of Olympics)

“While generic concerns have been expressed in the past about Beijing 2022’s product sourcing, the IOC has not been approached about any specific case or situation, including by the Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region,” the IOC said in a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter Dec. 8 to partners of the IOC urging the group to pull their advertising of the Winter Olympics due to the genocide in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. However, none of the 15 companies had responded to Rubio as of Dec. 22.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Dec. 6 that the U.S. will not be sending any diplomats or governmental representation to the Beijing Winter Olympics because of the genocide in Xinjiang. China responded by saying the U.S. would “pay a price for its wrong practices.”