- Three US lawmakers have sent a letter to the US Olympics Committee urging them to restrict the US contingent from using China’s digital Yuan during the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing.
- The Republican politicians Marsha Blackburn, Cynthia Lummis, and Roger Wicker mentioned in their letter that using the digital Yuan will enable the Chinese officials to spy on the athletes.
- In April 2022, China began trials of its digital Yuan or the central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Chinese authorities are also exploring opportunities to let foreign sportspersons and visitors use the CBDC during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
Three US Senators Expressed Concern Over Using Digital Yuan by American Athletes
Three republican US senators have appealed to the US Olympics Committee to restrict American athletes not to use the digital Yuan during the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
Senators Marsha Blackburn, Cynthia Lummis, and Roger Wicker wrote a letter to the authorities to prevent American participants from making transactions using the new digital currency at the next year’s Winter Olympics, expressing concerns over spying and data security.
In their letter to the Committee, the senators have requested officials to stop American athletes from accepting or using the digital Yuan because the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) may track and trace the activities of the athletes for spying.
China’s Plan to Rollout the Digital Yuan
China’s digital token Yuan is still in trial stages and has made the senators worried that it might challenge the status of the US Digital dollar as the dominant reserve currency in the world.
Chinese officials have asserted that the digital token will be mainly for domestic retail transactions. According to PBoC, currently, more than 20.8 million people have opened a digital wallet all over China.
In April 2020, China began trials of its digital Yuan and has given away the central bank digital currency or CBDC worth thousands of dollars to people in various cities. The PBoC has also stated it is exploring scopes of allowing foreign athletes and visitors to use the CBDC at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, which could be the first such trial, including foreign nationals in China.
In their statement, the US senators mentioned that recently the Chinese government added new features to the digital Yuan, empowering the officials to track the details of athletes’ transactions. They further referred the payment and messaging app WeChat as an example. According to the senators, China was already using that platform for spying, intimidating, and arresting Chinese citizens.
The senators have requested to have a briefing on this matter within 30 days at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. They have urged that the Olympic committee hand over the matter to federal agencies shielding the privacy of US athletes from the prying eyes of China’s Communist Government.
China’s Official Response to this Allegation
In response to the US senators’ statement, the Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian told at a press conference that the action of the US lawmakers only showed their ignorance.
Zhao Lijian further added that US lawmakers should understand what a digital currency is. The senators should respect the spirit of the Olympics, and stop turning sports into a political issue by refraining themselves from creating troubles over China’s digital currency rollout.