U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.
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The 2022 Winter Olympics shouldn’t be held in China, Sen. Rick Scott said Tuesday, referring to the recent standoff between Beijing and the NBA as well as the Chinese regime’s human rights violations.
“We shouldn’t be doing the 2022 Olympics there,” the Florida Republican told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” The games are set to take place in February 2022 in Beijing and neighboring towns.
Scott was referring to the tensions between the NBA and Beijing, which were set off when the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey showed support for anti-government protests in Hong Kong in a tweet that has since been deleted. The tweet triggered swift backlash in China, despite being quickly deleted and apologized for by Morey.
“Are they going to tell all the athletes they can’t say anything against [Chinese President] Xi?” Scott said on “Squawk Box.”
The NBA’s Chinese partners have announced they have suspended their relationship with the league, which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said already caused “substantial” losses. Last Friday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said that Silver will face “retribution sooner or later” for saying the country wanted him to fire Morey. China has denied making that request.
The Hong Kong protests, which have escalated over the past four months, began in response to a now-withdrawn proposed extradition bill that activists said would threaten judicial protections.
“Until you become a legitimate country that is going to respect human rights and respect things you agree to, we’re going to quit doing business with you,” Scott said, also calling for American consumers to stop purchasing Chinese goods.
Scott, a key ally of President Donald Trump, in the past has been critical of the world’s second-largest economy and its record on human rights as the two countries remain embattled in an escalating trade war.
“Human rights are important to us in America,” the senator said. “There’s no human rights over there. They’re trying to take them away from China, or from Hong Kong.”