The Chinese Communist Party should have been called out years ago. Hopefully, moving the Olympics to a safer and more deserving country, or seriously boycotting them, would be only the first of many actions designed to hold China accountable. Pictured: An ice hockey test event match on November 12, 2021 in Beijing, China, held in preparation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
"It is now time," Gordon Chang recently wrote, "for the world to face the reality of the Communist Party of China and the horrific system it has constructed."
Now? Both Chang and I are in strong agreement that the world should long ago have confronted the evil system that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has built and continues to develop. China has ignored its trade agreements with the WTO, failed to disclose crucial information about its businesses on stock exchanges as other businesses do, has built artificial islands in the South China Sea and militarized them after promising not to. China has also threatened Japan, Australia, the Philippines and the US; it recently has attacked India, illegally seized Hong Kong, enslaved Uyghurs and, by repeatedly lying about the human-to-human transmissibility of its Wuhan COVID-19 virus, caused the deaths worldwide of more than five million people, not to mention economic devastation.
Communist China has "disappeared" many high-profile Chinese, including the physician Dr. Ai Fen, the movie star Zhao Wei, and now, possibly the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai -- who might have briefly reappeared at least for the moment. What about all of those acts of aggression should not force the world finally to confront China? The international community should have confronted the Chinese communists years ago regarding their malign behavior.
Chang goes on in his piece to make the compelling case for why action is long overdue:
"There are many reasons to boycott or move the Olympics from Beijing. So far advocates of such actions have focused on the Communist Party's genocidal policies against Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities and its other crimes against humanity. Of course, no ruling group that organizes rape, slavery, mass detention, torture, killings, and organ harvesting should be permitted, among other things, to host international sporting events."
There are additional compelling reasons to hold the CCP accountable: Its unacceptable trade practices, including the theft of intellectual property on a global basis and blatantly unfair and non-reciprocal market access rules, which continue to wreak havoc in Western economies.
It is also necessary to consider the elephant in the room: the issue that US President Joe Biden was again unwilling to bring up during his bilateral virtual summit with China this past week, the Wuhan-origin of the global COVID-19 pandemic. COVID's health and economic impacts continue to foment internal conflict and rage in the West.
Just look at what is going on in Europe. Riots have broken out over COVID restrictions and police have fired their weapons during violent protests in Rotterdam. One news organization described the scene as an "orgy of violence." I served as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, and this behavior is very uncharacteristic of the Dutch. It demonstrates that for the Dutch, as well as other parts of the world that are experiencing a surge in COVID cases as we all enter the third dark winter, that they have had enough.
Why are they angry? Here is a possibility. Entering the third year of a global pandemic that has led to more than five million deaths globally, the one country most responsible for the virus has still been unwilling to be fully transparent or cooperative. It will not work with the rest of the world in confronting, managing, and hopefully eliminating the threat.
As leaders of the West impose more restrictions inside their countries, close Christmas markets, threaten their citizens with losing their jobs if they do not get vaccinated, people have had enough. To the public, it seems as if their leaders are more willing to threaten their own citizens than they are to confront the Chinese Communists. There is something seriously wrong with this scenario.
Biden is willing to dictate to Americans that they must take a vaccine and wear masks on public transportation, or face serious consequences. At the same time, he is unwilling to press the Chinese Communists for information about a virus that has killed more than 750,000 Americans, driven countless businesses into bankruptcy, brought about high inflation and supply chain bottlenecks, and disrupted life for all Americans.
If once again sports can bring about change, then we should all be thankful to Peng Shuai for doing what our own leaders have been unwilling to do -- call out the leaders of the CCP and hold them accountable. It is scary to believe that her actions may be the ones that get our leaders to do what they should have done long ago. The CCP should have been called out years ago. Hopefully, moving the Olympics to a safer and more deserving country, or seriously boycotting them, would be only the first of many actions designed to hold China accountable. We should also hold our own leaders accountable for their actions, or as is too often the case, inaction.
Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors.