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Risch: Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics is Correct Call

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on reports that the United States will not send government officials to the Beijing Olympics in February. The Strategic Competition Act, legislation authored by Senators Risch and Menendez that was adopted into the United States Innovation and Competition Act and passed the Senate in June, included a provision calling for the diplomatic boycott of these Olympics.

“A diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics is something I have advocated for through my Strategic Competition Act, but would still allow American Olympians the opportunity to compete. It is crucial that the international community does not allow Beijing to use the honor of hosting the Olympics to legitimize and celebrate its authoritarian and repressive regime. I appreciate the advocacy that Senator Romney has done for this, and congratulate him on a successful effort.

“Beijing has so far not upheld its commitment to the International Olympic Committee that it would allow freedom of press at the games. Instead, reports indicate that reporters are already being followed and harassed in Beijing, and foreign reporters are being denied access to pre-game events.

“This is yet another example of how the Chinese Communist Party has no intent to uphold its international commitments, nor ease its assault on individual freedoms.”