Three U.S. senators urged the U.S. Olympic Committee and Paralympics to ban U.S. athletes from receiving or using digital renminbi during the Beijing Olympics. They raised many concerns, including privacy issues, and they warned: “Olympic athletes should be aware that digital renminbi may be used to monitor Chinese citizens and people visiting China on an unprecedented scale.”

U.S. senators express concern about China’s digital renminbi

On Monday, three U.S. senators wrote to Susanne Lyons, chairman of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) board of directors, expressing concerns about the digital renminbi.

Senators Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker and Cynthia Lummis wrote: “We are writing to express our concern about the Chinese Communist government’s plan to officially launch digital currency electronic payments (often called digital renminbi) before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.” They clarified:

Specifically, we urge the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to ban American athletes from receiving or using digital renminbi during the Beijing Olympics.

The senator explained that the digital renminbi, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), is “fully controlled by the People’s Bank of China and can be tracked and traced by the central bank.”

The Chinese government has been testing and donating digital renminbi in various cities, and the company has begun to accept it as a payment method. The white paper on the digital renminbi was also announced recently.

The senators pointed out that “the Chinese Communist Party insists that their efforts are aimed at digitizing banknotes and coins.” However, they warned that “Olympic athletes should be aware that digital renminbi may be used to monitor Chinese citizens and Chinese citizens on an unprecedented scale. People who visit China hope that they will keep their digital renminbi wallets on their smartphones and return.”

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The letter further stated:

China’s digital currency integration into global commerce has many problematic privacy implications… These concerns are not hypothetical. On the contrary, digital payment platforms such as WeChat have been used to monitor, threaten and arrest Chinese citizens.

The senators asked USOPC to cooperate with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Commerce to “protect the privacy of American athletes from the Chinese Communist government.” They also requested that members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation be notified of this request within 30 days of receiving the letter.

In response to the actions of the senators, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday that this exposed their ignorance. “We advise them to figure out what digital currency is,” he was quoted as saying. “U.S. politicians should abide by the spirit of the Olympic Charter, stop turning sports into a political issue, and stop using digital currency to cause trouble in China.”

Do you think American athletes should be banned from receiving and using digital renminbi? Let us know in the comments section below.

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