Cotton urges Coca-Cola to blame China’s human rights abuses in a fierce exchange with executives


Senator Tom cotton (R., Ark.) Pressured Coca-Cola representatives on Tuesday about the company’s decision to act as a sponsor of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, despite China’s human rights abuses against Uighurs.

Cotton had an enthusiastic exchange with Paul Lari, Global Vice President of Human Rights at Coca-Cola, at a parliamentary executive committee hearing in China on Tuesday.

The panel sponsors US companies, including Coca-Cola and visas, unless the game is relocated, given that an estimated 1 million Uighurs and other Turks in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are detained in CCP concentration camps. Was urged to withdraw.

Cotton called Coca-Cola for hypocrisy after he was willing to oppose Georgia’s new election law earlier this year, but remained silent about the Uighur massacre in China.

Republican lawmakers said the company had promised to “continue to support what is right in Georgia and the United States” at the time.

“Do we take from your statement that Coca-Cola will not stand up to what is just outside the United States?” Cotton asked.

“”No, Senator. We support the right thing all over the world, “Lalli replied. “We apply the same human rights principles that we do all over the world.”

Cotton then asked Lari if he believed the Chinese Communist Party was genocide against Uighurs.

“We know reports from the Department of State and other US government ministries on this issue,” he said. “We respect those reports and they continue to inform our program.”

Cotton then argued in his testimony that Lari “refused to say a word that would cost a bit of market share in mainland China.”

When Coca-Cola was asked by the International Olympic Committee to postpone China’s Olympics and allow the game to re-bid early in the hearing, Senator said the company would stop genocide. “I have a say in that decision.” Mr Cotton questioned why the company “has no say about whether to sponsor next year’s genocide Olympics, but has a say about how Georgia will hold elections.”

Cotton then wrote to the IOC, with Coca-Cola’s CEO saddling the same moral high horse he rode when Georgia passed the election law, in order to postpone or relocate the Olympics. You can write and ask them. “

Lalli continued to defend the company, claiming that “we are tackling the most policy issues in the country here, but we make it clear that we respect human rights globally.”

He added that the company’s “sponsoring role is to support and follow athletes.”

“You’re spending millions of dollars sponsoring the genocide Olympics, yet you don’t comment on any issues about it,” Cotton said. “Still, you’ll dig into the Georgia General Assembly’s Electoral Reform Act. Can you explain the contrast? “

“First, we don’t make decisions about the locations of these hosts we support, and we follow them wherever athletes compete,” he said.

Cotton then said he was “sick of hearing” Lari’s “issues.”

“I think the answer is that you’re afraid of the Chinese Communist Party,” Cotton continued. “In a nutshell, they’re afraid of what they do to your company. For example, when both the Biden and Trump administrations say China is genocide against its people. As I said it was correct. “

Panel members warned that unless the Chinese government changed its behavior regarding Uighur Muslims in Hong Kong and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, American companies sponsoring the Olympics would help enable human rights abuses in China.

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