WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing underway, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Tenn.), and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) led their colleagues to introduce a bipartisan resolution calling on the Chinese Communist Party to guarantee the safety and freedom of tennis star Peng Shuai, and rebuking the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its failure to clearly and forcefully challenge the Chinese Communist Party’s claims about Peng’s safety. The resolution was cosponsored by Senators Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sherrod Brown (R-Ohio), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
A companion resolution led by Congressman Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2021.
“The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated they are willing to disappear and silence anyone who questions them—including athletes like Peng Shuai,” said Senator Blackburn. “The International Olympic Committee failed to fulfill their duty by enabling China’s abuse, and Congress is now left with no other choice than to demand better for our athletes.”
Senator Rick Scott said, “The recent disappearance of Peng Shuai has shocked the world and exposed the disturbing lack of basic rights and human decency experienced by the Chinese people at the hand of General Secretary Xi’s ruthless communist regime. No one, especially the IOC, should ignore what happened to Ms. Shuai or attempt to move past this horrifying incident simply to avoid confrontation with Communist China. This bipartisan resolution, which has already unanimously passed the House, makes clear that the United States will not tolerate these kind of gross abuses and continues to stand for freedom for all people. I’m thankful for all of my colleagues’ support on this resolution, and I look forward to its quick passage in the Senate.”
Senator Mark Warner said, “The disappearance and silencing of Peng Shuai, following her allegations of sexual assault, serve as a disturbing reminder of the countless human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party. The International Olympic Committee’s unwillingness to clearly and forcefully stand up to the CCP and call for independent assurance into the safety and freedom of Peng Shuai strongly suggests that the committee is willing to prioritize a relationship with China over athlete well-being. As the Olympic Games get underway, we must not turn a blind eye towards the disturbing human rights abuses by the CCP, and the IOC must join the broader diplomatic push for the freedom and well-being of Peng Shuai.”