US lawmakers have increasingly spoken of an Olympic boycott or a change of venue.
They also criticized US companies, saying their silence on what the US State Department deemed the genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China encouraged the Chinese government.
Pelosi, a Democrat, said at a bipartisan congressional hearing on Tuesday on the issue that heads of state around the world should avoid the games, scheduled for February.
Pelosi said she was proposing “a diplomatic boycott” in which “the main countries of the world refuse to participate in the Olympics”.
“Let’s not pay homage to the Chinese government by inviting heads of state to visit China,” Pelosi said.
“The fact that heads of state are going to China in light of an ongoing genocide – while you are sitting there in your place – really raises the question of what moral authority do you have to speak again about the human rights everywhere. ? ” she said.
An independent United Nations panel said in 2018 it had received credible information that at least one million Uyghurs and other Muslims had been detained in camps in China’s western Xinjiang region. Beijing describes the camps as vocational training centers that aim to eradicate “extremism” and strongly rejects accusations of abuse and genocide.
Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern said the games should be moved.
“If we can postpone the Olympics for a year for a pandemic, surely we can postpone the Olympics for a year for genocide,” said McGovern, referring to the decision of Japan and the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It would give the IOC time to settle in a country whose government does not commit atrocities,” said McGovern.
Calls for a boycott of the Beijing Games are increasing in the United States.
Last month, Republican Senator Mitt Romney introduced an amendment to broader legislation to counter China that would implement a U.S. diplomatic boycott, while a coalition of human rights activists on Tuesday called on athletes to boycott the games and put pressure on the IOC.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has said it hopes to develop a common approach with its allies on participating in the Beijing Olympics, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly said the issue has not still been addressed in discussions.
Asked about Pelosi’s comments, a senior Biden administration official told Reuters news agency that his stance on the 2022 Olympics had not changed.
Biden, also a Democrat, said China is the United States’ strategic competitor.
Supporters of U.S. athletes competing in the Olympics say it would be unfair to punish athletes and that the games would provide a platform for the United States, which has one of the highest Olympic winter medal counts, to show their vitality on the world stage.
Sarah Hirshland, the chief executive officer of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), said in a written statement to the congressional hearing that the USOPC was concerned about “the oppression of the Uyghur population”, but that the exclusion of American athletes at the Games was “certainly not the answer.”
“Past Olympic boycotts have not resulted in political ends – and they should give all of us a break when considering another boycott,” she said.