Why Meghan McCain Is Lashing Out About The Winter Olympics

Having the 2022 Winter Olympics in China was a controversial choice. While the controversy surrounding China as a host nation for the Olympics goes beyond the handling of the initial outbreak of COVID-19, you may think Beijing as a host for Winter Olympics is an odd choice because of the fact that the weather is distinctly non-wintery there. The BBC reports that "[a]bout 1.2 million cubic metres of artificial snow [are] being used because so little falls in the region." However, it's more than that.

In May 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics. She believed the U.S. "cannot proceed as if nothing is wrong about the Olympics going to China (per The Hill). Mitt Romney spoke to The Hill after Pelosi's statement, saying, "In authoritarian states like China, the Olympics has more often been a tool of propaganda than a lever of reform." Romney had been calling for a boycott since March of 2021.

The United States did declare a diplomatic boycott, BBC reports, meaning they've sent athletes to the games but no government officials. The UK, Canada, India, Australia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Belgium, Denmark, and Estonia have also declared diplomatic boycotts.

There is major controversy over the 2022 Winter Olympics

Countries felt strongly about making a statement about the host country for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Senator John McCain and former host of "The View," believes a diplomatic boycott is not enough of an answer to what's really happening in China. Senator Mitt Romney agrees. In a statement to The Hill, he said: "It is unacceptable for China to have the honor of hosting the Olympics while the Chinese Communist Party commits genocide against the Uyghur people."

The Beijing government has been detaining Uyghurs Muslims in the province in numbers reaching over one million, the BBC reports. The prisoners have then been sent to "re-education camps," where they are either sentenced to prison terms or enter into forced hard labor. Prisoners have also alleged that women are being forcibly sterilized, tortured, and sexually abused.

However, athletes need to worry about speaking out against the Chinese government. In an op-ed for the Daily Mail this weekend, McCain reminded readers that "China is warning athletes about speaking out about politics at the Olympic games with threats that athletes will be punished if they stage anti-Beijing protests. They are also being warned that the disappearance of tennis-star Peng Shuai is an example of the risks of speaking up."

Penh Shuai, a Chinese tennis star, went missing for 50 days after publicly alleging she was sexually assaulted by a former top official in China's Communist Party. According to McCain, China has been warning athletes that they can meet a similar fate if they choose to stage anti-Beijing protests.

This is why Meghan McCain is boycotting the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics still started this week, despite the allegations of major human rights violations and threats it has made to athletes and even other countries.

China is a country where "[t]here is no freedom of speech, religion, or thought," Meghan McCain wrote in her op-ed for the Daily Mail. "The regime regularly engages in the worst possible behavior against their own citizens, and they repress and target anyone who questions them."

These ideals apply to citizens and other countries, too. China has threatened that the U.S. "will pay a price" for just the diplomatic boycott of the games. In an effort to combat what McCain calls "Orwellian levels of surveillance" in the Daily Mail, athletes and others attending the games were advised to get burner phones. According to Cybersecurity group Citizen Lab, the COVID-19 monitoring app being used "has weak encryption systems," making health and travel information — plus potentially more — easily accessible to hackers (per BBC).

Many are choosing not to watch the Games, including McCain. "There is no reason to watch a Winter Olympics that is holding up and spreading propaganda for a regime that is committing actual genocide and ethnic cleansing — on top of poisoning the world and killing 6 million people," she tweeted. "Absolute shame on the international community for this."