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Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Steven Palazzo (R-MS) Call for China to be Barred from hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics Unless They Fully Cooperate with WHO Investigation on the Origins of COVID-19

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Steven Palazzo (R-MS) today called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to bar China from hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games unless China cooperates fully with the investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the origins of COVID-19. In a letter to the IOC, Ryan and Palazzo highlighted that the WHO’s plan for a second COVID-19 origin investigation needed to include a further investigation of the Wuhan animal markets and audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019.

“China’s refusal to work with the World Health Organization to understand the origin of this virus is irresponsible and unacceptable. Without China’s partnership, the international community forfeits critical scientific data which puts the entire world at risk,” wrote the lawmakers. 

"The Olympics should be an event that embodies international cooperation, and China has shown that they are unwilling to uphold these values. Thus, we urge the Committee to reassess their choice of Beijing, China as the site of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” continued the lawmakers. 

Full letter can be found below: 

August 25, 2021

 Mr. Thomas Bach
President, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Maison Olympique
1007 Lausanne
Switzerland 


Dear President Bach, 

 We write to urge the International Olympic Committee to bar China from hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games unless China cooperates fully with the investigation by the World Health Organization on the origins of COVID-19. 

 The global community has taken countless actions to combat and understand COVID-19. A crucial piece in this effort is the identification of the origin of the virus. In the World Health Organization’s plan for a second COVID-19 origin investigation, further areas of study have been identified in order to understand the origin of the virus. These include an investigation of the Wuhan animal markets and audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019. China, however, has rejected the World Health Organization’s request to probe any areas of interest to the investigation. 

 China’s refusal to work with the World Health Organization to understand the origin of this virus is irresponsible and unacceptable. In addition to its longstanding persecution and human rights violations against the Uighur ethnic minority—itself enough to warrant moving the 2022 Winter Games—China’s refusal to cooperate on the origins of the COVID virus is yet one more example of China thumbing its nose at the international community. As an interconnected world, we owe it to our global partners to understand how the pandemic started in order to combat future disease outbreaks with pandemic potential. Without China’s partnership, the international community forfeits critical scientific data which puts the entire world at risk.

 The decision by China to reject transparency and global cooperation directly contradicts the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect. The Olympics should be an event that embodies international cooperation, and China has shown that they are unwilling to uphold these values. Thus, we urge the Committee to reassess their choice of Beijing, China as the site of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

 Sincerely,

Representative Tim Ryan (OH-13) 
Representative Steven Palazzo (MS-4)

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