WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott wrote to the CEO of NBC Universal and President of NBC Olympics requesting information on NBC’s plan to cover the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, considering Communist China’s long history of harassing and threatening journalists, especially those reporting for American networks. Last year, Senator Rick Scott November 16, 2020
Mr. Jeff Shell
30 Rockefeller Plaza
Mr. Gary Zenkel
Dear Mr. Shell and Mr. Zenkel:
I write to follow up with you regarding the ongoing human rights abuses in Communist China and your plan to cover the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.
In December 2019, I sent you a letter asking NBC Universal to stand for human rights and urge the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to re-bid the 2022 Olympics to a new host city, or refuse to air the 2022 games. Since I last wrote you, the human rights situation in Communist China has become even more dire.
Beijing has stripped away the civil liberties of Hong Kongers, leading to more than 5 million people losing their rights to due process, free speech, and free assembly. Those who peacefully protest the oppression of Beijing are arrested and labeled a “national security threat.” Chinese officials even believe they have global jurisdiction to prosecute violators of its “national security law”—in August, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials issued an arrest warrant for an American citizen living in the United States for his vocal defense of the rights of Hong Kongers.
New reports also indicate the CCP is threatening to illegitimately prosecute and hold hostage Americans living, working, and traveling in China on bogus charges in retaliation for the perfectly legitimate and lawful prosecution of Chinese spies stealing American trade secrets and research.
And in Xinjiang, the CCP has established hundreds of concentration camps in order to imprison, torture and enslave Uyghurs. Blindfolded Uyghurs are being loaded onto trains and transported to the internment camps simply because of their religion. Uyghur children are separated from parents and taken to orphanages where Han Chinese and CCP officials pressure them to renounce their Uyghur heritage. Through torture, the CCP threatens Uyghurs to forsake their language, their faith and their culture. Uyghur women are forcibly sterilized and have intrauterine devices placed inside them to prevent more births of Uyghurs. Some have abortions forcibly performed on them. Those who are not being tortured inside the camps work as slave laborers in factories.
Recent reports indicate that the CCP is attempting the same thing in Tibet, coercing hundreds of thousands of people in Tibet into mass labor camps.
It is also no secret that Communist China has a long history of harassing and threatening journalists, especially those reporting for American networks. Because NBC Universal has exclusive rights to stream the Olympic Games, I ask that you please answer the following questions:
- Have you, NBC Universal staff, or any of your reporters or affiliates had any conversations with Chinese officials about what stories NBC Universal can and cannot report on while covering the 2022 Olympic Games?
- Have Chinese officials attempted to limit NBC’s reporting to only news about the Olympic Games, or suggested they would repress stories published by NBC about the treatment of Uyghurs and Hong Kongers?
- If the IOC does not move the games out of Beijing, will you commit to reporting on the human rights atrocities occurring in Communist China, including the reports of abuse of children training at NBA facilities in Xinjiang?
- If Chinese officials do attempt to limit the stories NBC covers, will you and your reporters comply, or will you call on the IOC to move the games to a country that respects human rights?
Communist China is committing a genocide against the Uyghurs and should not be given a platform to whitewash its crimes. It is up to all of us to stand for freedom and tell the stories of Chinese citizens who are threatened, imprisoned, and tortured simply because of their religion or belief in basic civil liberties. Thank you, and I look forward to your response.
United States Senator