Pelosi warns US Olympic athletes not to anger China with protests

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discouraged Olympic athletes from protesting at the opening ceremony in Beijing on Thursday, saying it was no...


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discouraged Olympic athletes from protesting at the opening ceremony in Beijing on Thursday, saying it was not worth the risk of retaliation from a “ruthless” Chinese government.

Pelosi said she and other politicians would speak out against China’s human rights record, but athletes would be at risk if they used their platforms to protest.

“I would say to our athletes: you are here to compete,” she said. “Don’t risk incurring the wrath of the Chinese government, as they are ruthless.”

It’s unclear how the Chinese government would react to the protests, but officials warned that the athletes are subject to Chinese law. Some national teams, including the United States and Canada, have warned their athletes that there is potential legal risk in speaking out – both from the International Olympic Committee and China’s legal system.

“I know some are tempted to speak while they’re out there,” Pelosi said. “I respect that. But I also worry about what the Chinese government might do to their reputation, to their families.

Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, said she had been contacted by about two dozen Olympic athletes to discuss the lack of free speech in Beijing.

“A lot of people who have never been to China before or who have been there but are unsure of the circumstances or the environment,” she said, “have asked questions about what they can say or do, what they are concerned about, what the reactions of the authorities might be.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Pelosi warns US Olympic athletes not to anger China with protests
Pelosi warns US Olympic athletes not to anger China with protests
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