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American Defectors Compete for China

Eileen Gu, an Olympic freestyle skier, and Zhu Yi, an Olympic figure skater, are both American born athletes, competing in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

But they are not competing for America. They are competing for China.

Both renounced their American citizenship since China does not allow for dual nationality. According to Reuters, Gu renounced her citizenship at the age of 15. Yi renounced her citizenship in 2018 and changed her name from Beverly to Zhu. Both athletes were born in California, Gu in San Francisco, Yi in Los Angeles.

On the official Olympic website, it states that, “According to the Olympic Charter (Rule 40-41) Any competitor in the Olympic Games must be a national of the country of the NOC which is entering such competitor. A competitor who is a national of two or more countries at the same time may represent either one of them, as he may elect. However, after having represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental or regional games or in world or regional championships recognized by the relevant IF, he may not represent another country unless certain circumstances.”

According to Insider, Gu has brought in approximately $31.4 million from her more than 20 brand deals in China.

Gu is receiving much praise from China for her gold medal win, but Yi is not receiving the same love after she fell at her Olympic debut.

However, both athletes are under fire for representing China, instead of America because of the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people in China. The US, UK and the Netherlands have all accused China of committing genocide against them, which is defined by the UN international convention as any “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.

The Uyghur people live in Xinjiang, which is in the north-west region of China. They are Muslim and there are about 12 million Uyghurs that live there. They speak a language that is likeTurkish, and they are ethnically and culturally close to Central Asian nations.

The Uyghur genocide has been going on since 2014. China has been targeting them and putting them into forced labor camps, re-education camps and forcibly sterilizing the women. They are essentially trying to erase them as a people group.

China denies all allegations of human rights abuses. Both athletes have not commented on the Uyghur genocide happening as they represent China.

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