The heat is rising between United States lawmakers and Chinese officials even before the lighting of the Olympic flame at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian addressed U.S. senators’ warning letter to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee regarding the use of the digital yuan at the Olympic games next year.
Calling for the U.S. politicians to “abide by the spirit stipulated in the Olympic Charter,” Lijian asked them to “stop making sports a political matter and stop making troubles out of the digital currency in China,” the South China Morning Post reported.
Claiming that the recent actions revealed ignorance, Lijian suggested U.S. lawmakers “figure out what a digital currency really is.”
Earlier this week, senators Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker and Cynthia Lummis wrote a letter to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee board chair Susanne Lyons. Highlighting the allegation that the digital yuan can be “tracked and traced” by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the three requested officials prevent U.S. athletes from using or accepting the Chinese digital currency.
Claiming the Chinese Communist Party could use the digital currency to surveil visiting athletes upon their return to the United States, the senators said the new features of the digital yuan enable Chinese officials “to know the exact details of what someone purchased and where.”
In the letter, the three requested a briefing on the topic for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation within 30 days.
Related: US lawmakers don't want Olympic athletes to use digital yuan at 2022 games
On the other hand, China regards the Beijing Winter Olympics, slated 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 domestic users but also to international athletes and like visitors.”