'Woke' corporations hit for 'bowing to China while snubbing America' as they ignore Chinese Uyghur genocide

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Republican politicians and activists are slamming "woke" business leaders who've become more inclined to make domestic political statements in recent years yet still do business with China, which is ruled by the brutal Chinese Communist Party.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this year said the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghur Muslims is, in fact, "genocide." U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has accused China of committing genocide as well. And President Biden's campaign said China is guilty of genocide. 

Yet still, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said in an op-ed this week, companies that have criticized state election security laws and opined on other political issues in the United States are doing business with China. 

"Look no further than the list of primary sponsors for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing. About half are U.S. companies," Haley wrote. "Many of them, like Coca-Cola, have spent the past year talking about ‘racial equity’ and criticizing commonsense voting rights bills like the one in Georgia. Yet these companies have no problem ponying up $100 million or more for an event that will glorify one of the most tyrannical countries on earth."

China’s President Xi Jinping during the official welcoming ceremony in front of the Presidential Palace, in Helsinki, Finland, April 5, 2017. The Chinese government, under Xi’s leadership, is accused of committing genocide by the United States. Lehti

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincy did indeed say, "we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation." 

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Yet the company is one of the "Worldwide Olympic Partners" of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Coca-Cola did not answer questions from FOX Business, including whether it would reconsider its sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics or whether it will call on China to stop committing genocide against the Uyghur Muslims.

Another American company sponsoring the Beijing Olympics is Procter & Gamble. Its CEO, David Taylor, issued an April statement that appeared to be measured criticism of state-level election security laws. 

It is egregiously appalling for these companies to be promoting their ‘wokeness’ while at the same time ignoring genocide and human rights atrocities being committed by the Chinese Communist Party

Taylor said, "the issue of voting access… concerns me as I am sure it concerns many of you." 

Procter & Gamble did not answer questions from FOX Business, including whether it would reconsider its sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics or whether it will call on China to stop committing genocide against the Uyghur Muslims.

"These woke corporations need to stop meddling in the policy decisions in America when they hypocritically do business with one of the most oppressive regimes in the world that enslaves minorities," Mike Davis, the founder of The Unsilenced Majority, told FOX Business. 

Some lawmakers have taken note of the ethical problems posed by the Chinese Olympics and called on the U.S. to boycott the 2022 Olympics if the location is not moved. And late last month, a bipartisan coalition introduced a bill that would ban American companies from sponsoring the affair. 

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"By financially supporting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, both American and other global corporations are complicit in whitewashing the ongoing genocide against Chinese ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang region, repression against their own people, the attempted coverup of the COVID-19 pandemic, media censorship, the repression of democratic rights in Hong Kong and Tibet, and threats against the free democracy in Taiwan," Rep. Mike Walz, R-Fla., said. 

Walz added: "It is egregiously appalling for these companies to be promoting their ‘wokeness’ while at the same time ignoring genocide and human rights atrocities being committed by the Chinese Communist Party, simply to appease the oppressive regime and maintain market access. We intend to help them find their spines."

"We cannot allow the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to turn a blind eye to the Chinese government's brutal human rights abuses and genocide of Uyghur Muslims," Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., added. "Since the IOC has so far failed to confront the CCP, we must take action to put pressure on them from every angle, and that means hitting them where it hurts most — their corporate sponsorships."

But sponsorship of the Chinese Olympics is far from the only way that American corporations do business with the oppressive regime, which controls access to a market of nearly 1.4 billion consumers. And that massive moneymaking potential has led many U.S. companies to go to great lengths to avoid upsetting the vindictive CCP. 

The NBA is one of the most high-profile examples of this. It has been by far the most successful American sports league in expanding its international presence by tapping into the Chinese market. And it's seen huge financial benefits as a result. 

But it's also been forced to carefully appease China politically, a dynamic that was no clearer than when former Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey was forced to walk back a tweet backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong," Morey tweeted amid draconian crackdowns by the Chinese government. 

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Morey, the Rockets and the NBA were hit with swift pressure from China to walk that comment back, which they did. 

"I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China," Morey later tweeted. "I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA."

An official NBA statement said Morey’s tweet "deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable."

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said Morey "was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation." 

"Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it," James added. 

James and the NBA have been highly active in American political movements, including Black Lives Matter. 

The pressure on NBA players regarding China's human rights abuse continued this week. Two top congressional Democrats, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., urged players to drop endorsement deals with Chinese sportswear companies that use cotton from Xinjiang, where the Chinese government is accused of enslaving Uyghurs.

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"NBA players have a track record of using their large public platform to speak out against injustice, and we hope this will include Xinjiang. Complicity in forced labor is neither consistent with American values nor with U.S. law," the Democrats said in a letter to the NBA Players Association. 

The NBA Players Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business asking for its response to the letter and if NBA players will call on China to stop committing genocide against the Uyghur Muslims. 

Another high-profile corporation that's highly invested in China is Disney, which is often criticized for alleged self-censorship in its content to appease China. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a kiss scene in the Disney movie "Mulan" – which was filmed in the Xinjiang region of China – was cut under pressure from Chinese censors. 

Disney has also made significant progressive political statements in recent years. 

These companies, Davis said. "are bowing to China while snubbing America, and the NBA is one of the worst offenders for siding with the communist Chinese government over pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong." 

Fox News' Morgan Phillips, Elvan Katmer and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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