US Senators Ask Team USA to Boycott China’s Digital Yuan at 2022 Olympics

“We cannot allow America’s athletes to be used as a Trojan horse to increase the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to spy on the United States,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis.

Jul 19, 2021 at 10:07 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:27 p.m. UTC

Three senators are calling on the U.S. national team to effectively boycott China’s digital currency at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Athletes should be forbidden from “receiving or using digital yuan during the Beijing Olympics,” Republicans Marsha Blackburn, Cynthia Lummis and Roger Wicker said in a Monday letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee leadership, citing privacy concerns.

“We cannot allow America’s athletes to be used as a Trojan horse to increase the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to spy on the United States,” Lummis told CoinDesk.

The boycott call amounts to an early salvo in the digital currency arms race, given its proximity to the 2020 summer games. Tokyo’s year-delayed event is set to begin later this week.

China, which in February 2022 will host the winter games, is in the midst of debuting its e-CNY digital currency, by far the most advanced central bank digital currency (CBDC) project in the world. Last week the People’s Bank of China confirmed travelers will be allowed to open digital wallets while visiting the country.

That’s got the three Republicans fearful China’s Communist regime might attempt to exploit the e-CNY as a surveillance tool.

“Olympic athletes should be aware that the digital yuan may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale, with the hopes that they will maintain digital yuan wallets on their smartphones and continue to use it upon return,” they wrote to Olympic Committee board chair Suzanne Lyons.

A representative for U.S. Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for comment.

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