|Pix Credit Wall Street Journal|
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 "with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President." (CECC About). The CECC FAQs provide useful information about the CECC. See CECC Frequently Asked Questions. They have developed positions on a number of issues.
Recently CECC has begun to coordinate, in concert with administrative departs (see Human Rights Due Diligence Comes to the United States: Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory), its focus on soft law efforts (that is on efforts to influence the decision making and risk calculations under transnational private law) aimed at the conduct of US companies (especially those managing global production chains) under private law managed regimes of international norms grounded in human rights and sustainability, including standards not recognized in the home country itself. The object is to change the calculus of business and legal risk--and of the possibility of complicity related allegations--for production chains that include Chinese companies and more specifically companies with ties to or operations in Xinjiang.
To that end, CECC must enhance pressure (and thus change the risk parameters for business) from consumers and the financial community. It must seek to develop a narrative that embarrasses companies and invites critical "investigative news" projects from the press. It must seek, in effect, to threaten business relationships, markets, sales, and the costs of capital to US companies. But this is no straightforward calculus.
Sports and politics in China have proven a combustible mix in the past. Just ask the National Basketball Association, still struggling to regain full access to the market after the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeted support for pro-independence activists in Hong Kong in 2019. . . President Biden has indicated he would not support a boycott that would stop American athletes from attending. Relocation isn’t in the cards, either. “We have exhausted that route, so we are going to focus on corporate sponsors,” said Ms. Arkin. The market forces dependent on the 2022 Games and its host country at large may prove resilient. Money talks. Or in this case, keeps silent. (2022 Beijing Olympic Games Loom as Test for Corporate Sponsors: Silence on human-rights issues risks alienating U.S. consumers; speaking up could earn the host nation’s ire (quoting in part Zumretay Arkin, the program and advocacy manager at the World Uyghur Congress)).
More specifically, CECC has announced that it "has invited the U.S.-based companies who sponsor the Olympics through The Olympic Partner (TOP ) Programme of the IOC to . . . [July 27, 2021 10:00am] hearing to address how they can leverage their influence to insist on concrete human rights improvements in the People’s Republic of China and how they will manage the material and reputational risks of being associated with an Olympic Games held in the midst of a genocide." (CECC, Press Release: Corporate Sponsorship of the 2022 Beijing Olympics).
But this makes tremendous sense from the longer term perspective of distinguishing between imperial models (discussed HERE: Brief Refections on Emerging Global Trade Empires). The essence of the liberal democratic model is to operate through markets. Markets here leverage and project the individual rights that stand at the center of its economic-political model. The liberal democratic model, then, combines the collective meaning making of the therapeutic society, with the markets driven project of naturalizing normative principles in everyday activities. In both cases the result is individually driven but collectively disciplined. At its frontiers, of course it perverts itself--the so called shunning cultures of the left and the taboo barriers of the right (e.g., the dangerous farce that is this, and this). But within its broad center, it provides a broad space within which this interaction may produce deep projections of normative power expressed in action.; and a powerful one.
The full text of the Press Release follows with links.
Corporate Sponsorship of the 2022 Beijing Olympics
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Location to be determined
The XXIV Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to begin in Beijing, China, in February 2022. Unless the Chinese government dramatically changes its behavior, these Olympic Games will be conducted in a country where crimes against humanity and genocide, according to the State Department, are being conducted against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities. In addition, since Beijing was awarded the Winter Olympic Games by the International Olympics Committee (IOC), the Chinese government has acted to crush Hong Kong’s autonomy and increased repression against Tibetans, human rights defenders, and advocates for independent civil society, religious practice, and labor unions.
On May 18, the Commission held a joint hearing with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission entitled “China, Genocide and the Olympics,” at which witnesses made recommendations for how the IOC, Olympic sponsors and broadcasters, and governments can use the Olympic Games to seek improvements in human rights in China.
To this end, the Commission has invited the U.S.-based companies who sponsor the Olympics through The Olympic Partner (TOP ) Programme of the IOC to this hearing to address how they can leverage their influence to insist on concrete human rights improvements in the People’s Republic of China and how they will manage the material and reputational risks of being associated with an Olympic Games held in the midst of a genocide.
Members of the public may view the hearing via live webcast available on the CECC’s YouTube Channel.
Press Contact: Scott Flipse