Heat is rising between US lawmakers and Chinese officials even before the Olympic flame was lit at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
During a press conference on Tuesday (20), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian addressed a warning letter from US senators to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee regarding the use of the digital yuan at next year’s Olympic Games.
Urging US policymakers to “follow the spirit stipulated in the Olympic Charter”, Lijian urged them to “stop making sports a political issue and stop creating problems with China’s digital currency.” reported the South China Morning Post.
Claiming that recent actions revealed ignorance, Lijian suggested that US lawmakers “discover what a digital currency really is.”
Earlier this week, Senators Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker and Cynthia Lummis wrote a letter to US Olympic and Paralympic Committee chairman Susanne Lyons. Highlighting the claim that the digital yuan can be “tracked and spied upon” by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the three requested officials bar US athletes from using or accepting Chinese digital currency.
Claiming that the Chinese Communist Party could use the digital currency to keep tabs on visiting athletes on their return to the United States, senators said the digital yuan’s new features allow Chinese officials to “know the exact details of what someone bought and where” .
In the letter, the three requested a briefing on the subject for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transport within 30 days.
Related: US lawmakers don’t want Olympic athletes to use digital yuan in 2022 Games, alleging Chinese espionage
On the other hand, China regards the Beijing Winter Olympics, scheduled for next year, as the first test of China’s central bank digital currency by foreign users.
Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia in April, PBoC Deputy Governor Li Bo said: “For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, we were trying to make e-CNY available not only to home users, but also to international athletes and visitors.”
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