Three Republican senators want to forbid U.S. Olympic athletes from using China's digital currency, saying it could be used to spy on and harass Chinese citizens.
The lawmakers — Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Roger Wicker of Mississippi — have asked the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to prohibit athletes from using the digital yuan, which China plans to officially launch in time for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
"While the Chinese Communist Party insists their efforts are aimed at digitizing bank notes and coins, Olympic athletes should be aware that the digital yuan may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale, with the hopes that they will maintain digital yuan wallets on their smartphones and continue to use it upon return," they said in a Monday letter to Susanne Lyons, board chair of the U.S. Olympic body.
They accused the Chinese Communist Party of using new technologies "to suppress the Uyghur minority, the people of Hong Kong, and those across China who strive for freedom of expression."
The digital yuan, also known as the electronic Chinese yuan or eCNY, is currently rolling out in test markets in China.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the state that Cynthia Lummis represents. This story was updated July 20, 2021.