NBCUniversal should drop its broadcast of the Beijing Winter Olympics that is just two months away and instead turn the limelight toward the regime’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, U.S. lawmakers told the broadcaster.
“The nearly one billion dollars that NBCUniversal and its affiliates have invested in these Games means the organization bears the responsibility in addressing the impact of China’s human rights abuses,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), chair and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China, wrote in a Dec. 16 letter to NBCUniversal’s CEO Jeff Shell.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) derived 73 percent of its past four years’ revenue from selling broadcasting rights. About 40 percent of that income came from NBC alone.
That the Olympic sponsors have widely endorsed the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, has created a responsibility for these companies to address the human rights impact of their products and services, the lawmakers said in the letter.
“Athletes, support staff, and members of the media will be present in a country where an active genocide is taking place, and in adhering with the charter of the Games to foster ‘respect for universal and fundamental ethical principles,’ NBCUniversal must think about what that means for those participating in Beijing and Chinese citizens alike,” the letter stated.
The Epoch Times has reached out to NBCUniversal for comments.
International corporations have proved reluctant to publicly take a stand against China’s human rights abuses.
At a congressional hearing in July, top executives from Coca-Cola, Airbnb, Procter & Gamble, and Visa, all four American Olympics sponsors that have declared support for human rights globally, would not clarify whether they would back moving the Olympics to a different country or postponing the Games.
“As long as the governments are allowing the athletes to attend the games, we will be there to support and sponsor them,” one executive told officials.
In November, advocacy group Human Rights Watch said it has written to all but one of IOC’s top sponsors, as well as NBC, demanding to know why they had remained largely silent on the rights climate in China. The only reply came from IOC’s insurance partner Allianz, saying they “stand behind the Olympic Movement and our longstanding support for its ideals will not waver.”
Despite Beijing vouching for fundamental freedoms in China while hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, China’s human rights records have continued to sink.
By Eva Fu