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NBC, the network that owns the broadcasting rights to the Winter Olympic Games, is vowing to include “geopolitical context” in its coverage of this year’s game, which is set to occur in Beijing, China.
The vow was issued during a video presentation to reporters Wednesday, according to Reuters.
“We understand that there are some difficult issues regarding the host nation, so our coverage will provide perspective on China’s place in the world and the geopolitical context in which these Games are being held. But the athletes do remain the centerpiece of our coverage,” Molly Solomon, the executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Production, said during the presentation.
The vow marks a victory for Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner, who assembled a group of 28 Republican (including her) and two Democrat lawmakers, and then submitted a joint letter to NBC last Friday requesting that the network “air all footage of human rights protests during the 2022 Winter Olympics.”
“As the 2022 Winter Olympics approach, we urge you to air all footage of human rights protests captured during your coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, notwithstanding pressure from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to silence dissidents. We remain gravely concerned that the PRC will use the event as a platform to disseminate propaganda and distract from its egregious human rights abuses, including its ongoing genocide against Uyghur Muslims,” the letter reads.
“While we still believe that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should revoke the PRC’s hosting privileges, in the event that the Olympics proceed as planned, honest and transparent coverage will help the international community defend persecuted groups like Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong residents, Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, and human rights advocates.”
Wagner celebrated following NBC’s announcement Wednesday with a tweet.
“Last week, I called on NBCUniversal to broadcast all human rights protests during the Winter Olympics in China. Today they announced they will cover these critical events, a major victory for human rights worldwide,” the tweet reads.
RELEASE: Wagner, Colleagues Call for All Human Rights Protests to be Broadcast During Winter Olympics
Read the letter here.
— Ann Wagner (@RepAnnWagner) January 14, 2022
Last week, I called on NBCUniversal to broadcast all human rights protests during the Winter Olympics in China. Today they announced they will cover these critical events, a major victory for human rights worldwide. https://t.co/vw75CO6SS4
— Ann Wagner (@RepAnnWagner) January 19, 2022
The Winter Olympic Games, set to begin Feb. 4th, are expected to contain drama, particularly because the Chinese Communist Party has warned Olympic athletes against speaking out about the CCP’s well-documented human rights abuses.
“Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment,” Beijing Organizing Committee official Yang Shu said during a press briefing Tuesday, as reported by The Washington Post.
The Post noted almost defensively that the International Olympic Committee has its own established rule that also bars political protests at the Olympic Games, though the left-wing paper did concede that the CCP’s rule is “stricter.”
“But China’s formulation of its rule appeared to be a shade stricter than the IOC’s, raising questions about how Beijing plans to interpret and enforce it,” according to the Post.
No kidding …
What the Chinese government and the IOC may determine are “in line with the Olympic spirit” are probably VERY different! only one of those organizations has the ability to throw someone in jail.
— Sydney Bauer (@femme_thoughts) January 20, 2022
Solomon for her part pledged Wednesday that “if something happens, we’ll have our own cameras on site.”
What that “something” might be remains to be seen, though some suspect it could mean jail time or worse.
It’s a bad sign when the reason they’re giving is “China will put you in jail if you say something they don’t like.” They’re not even trying to hide it.
This is what the “shut up and play” people want, right?
— Clever Chuck Pun (@Cleverchuckpun) January 20, 2022
Why the hell would anyone go to China…OMG..say one bad thing about China they will throw you in jail….. Don’t go to that slave horror bod a country @AandGShow
— Chrissy (@ChrissyCmc) January 20, 2022
China says they will jail Olympic athletes that speak out against the CCP on their soil, but we’re supposed to open up trade to them unrestricted. Sure.
— Josh Fields (@partiallypro) January 20, 2022
Olympic athletes threatened with jail time (by guess who) if they speak up about human rights, can’t take their phones because of espionage, etc. Why are we sending them there again?
— Njia, Presented by Rocket Science (@CallMeNjia) January 20, 2022
Responding to the CCP’s threat, human rights advocate Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch noted that it constitutes “a serious violation of athletes’ basic right to free speech.”
Worden has been particularly outspoken about the CCP’s human rights abuses, particularly its genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
“Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment”
—Yang Shu, #Beijing2022 Organizer
This is a serious violation of athletes’ basic right to free speech:https://t.co/IUNbmAiqtv pic.twitter.com/imBjngm9vQ
— Minky Worden (@MinkysHighjinks) January 20, 2022
Harsher:@HRW report shows Crimes Against Humanity in #China targeting Uyghurs+Turkic Muslims, including mass detention, torture, cultural persecution.
IOC+sponsors of @Olympics should explain why they remain silent on these #HumanRights
abuses:https://t.co/Kp1vTu1RHR #SRA pic.twitter.com/0LoPdLhBMU
— Minky Worden (@MinkysHighjinks) November 14, 2021
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