Senators Rick Scott and Josh Hawley to NBC: Stand Up for Human Rights; Refuse to Air Olympics Hosted in Communist China

December 19, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Rick Scott and Josh Hawley wrote a letter to the Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal and the President of NBC Olympics urging them to put human rights over profits by requesting that the International Olympic Committee re-bid the 2022 Olympics, which is being hosted in Communist China, or refuse to air the 2022 games.

Read the letter HERE or below.

December 19, 2019

Mr. Stephen Burke
Chief Executive Officer
NBC Universal
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Mr. Gary Zenkel
NBC Olympics
One Blachey Road
Stamford, CT 06902


Dear Mr. Burke and Mr. Zenkel:

As the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing approach, we write to you with grave concern about the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow a Communist regime with an abysmal record on human rights to host a global sporting event that attracts athletes and spectators from all across the world. By doing so, you are placing profits over principles, and ensuring that China can be accepted into the international system even as it violates its basic rules and tenets.

Communist China is one of the great human rights abusers in the world, and it presents a threat to the safety and security of every athlete and tourist who will travel to Beijing. General Secretary Xi has set up a surveillance infrastructure in Beijing that tracks every person’s location and internet activity. Communist China uses millions of cameras, powered by facial recognition technology, to spy on and persecute those who criticize the regime. The 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing will provide the Chinese government access to a global array of dignitaries, athletes, corporations, and government entities, a risk that should be avoided at all costs.

On top of the concerns about Chinese surveillance, in November, documents obtained by the New York Times revealed the lengths to which Communist China uses this technology to track and oppress Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic group in the province in Xianjing. The documents showed how the Communist regime weaponizes military surveillance to spy on civilians and treat them as military threats, instead of human beings endowed with personal dignity. And they confirmed, as had previously been reported, that more than a million Uyghurs are in prison and “re-education camps,” simply because of their religion.

Many of us have shared similar concerns directly with the IOC. Unfortunately, in one response the IOC claimed that it must remain “strictly politically neutral” with regard to Communist China and would take no action.  We find that response to be woefully lacking.

We hope you, unlike the IOC, understand that this is not about politics, but about human rights and the security of athletes and international visitors. We also hope you know Communist China did not abide by the Host City Contract in the 2008 Beijing Winter Olympics, and its long history of breaking promises shows that it is not a country that can be trusted.

NBC Universal is faced with an important decision. As a media organization, it also has a moral responsibility to inform the public. By overlooking China’s human rights record, you betray your viewers in misleading them about the most important threat facing our values and our way of life.  Please pick human rights over profits. If Communist China continues to persecute religious minorities, forcibly harvest organs of innocent civilians, oppress the people of Hong Kong, spy on civilians, and imprison political dissidents, they should forfeit their rights to host an event that is supposed to bring the world together. We urge NBC to stand with us and request that the IOC re-bid the 2022 Olympics or refuse to air the 2022 games.

We look forward to hearing your decision on this important matter.


Rick Scott

United States Senator

Josh Hawley

United States Senator