Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Beijing will host its second Olympics next year The CCP hopes for a propaganda victory But an Olympic Boycott threatens everything Welcome to China Uncensored, I'm Chris Chappell. The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are fast approaching. Back in 2008, the first Beijing Olympics was an enormous propaganda victory for the Chinese Communist Party. The entire world was fixated on the vibrant, colorful opening ceremony. And a little less focused on the genocide of Tibetans. Falun Gong. And Uyghur Muslims. The Olympics changed how people around the world thought about China and the Chinese Communist Party. It was no longer the country of this. But the country of this. And right now, there's a lot of things the CCP would like people to forget. The coronavirus. Economic espionage. And of course more genocide. Maybe another Olympics will make everyone forget about that stuff! But there's a growing, international push to boycott the Beijing Olympics. And it has the CCP terrified. Joining me to talk about what an Olympic boycott could do is Chris Fenton. He's the former president of DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group, and he worked in Hollywood for two decades on some of the biggest blockbuster movies. He's also the author of the new book “FEEDING THE DRAGON: Inside the Trillion Dollar Dilemma Facing Hollywood, the NBA, & American Business.” Thanks for joining us again, Chris. Yeah. Thanks for having me, always honored. Yeah. So as somebody who worked in Hollywood you got a sense for what China wants and doesn't want. And you've been arguing that a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is a serious threat to the Chinese Regime. Why is that? Well it's interesting. I lecture quite often at the National War College for a soft power specialist who's actually an active captain in the US Military. His name's Captain [Corey Ray 00:00:35]. And he actually argues that boycotts themselves aren't the most effective use of getting change between the dynamics of multiple countries or in a bilateral relationship. So we actually came up with the idea of using a threat of a boycott to create the leverage that would constructively disrupt the US China relationship and allow us to push for certain changes that can get done in the next 300 days. And I actually did an op-ed recently where I cited some of his theory and historical perspective on boycotts, but then also talked about the effectiveness of actually saying, hey look, if you don't give us these handful of things, these check the box type of achievements, then we're not showing up. And there's a lot of reasons why I think that will create the leverage we need to get the change done. But for a threat of a boycott to be effective there has to be the actual threat of a boycott. 100%. So what do you think the boycott should look like? Well I think what needs to happen is, well first of all you have to look at the perspective of China, right? In the 2008 days, that huge summer Olympics was sort of their coming of age party, right? They were in this preteen adolescent state as far as a developed nation, as far as a capitalistic economic powerhouse. That 2008 stage was, on a global platform it was allowing them to say, here we are, right? Since then, in the next 13 years, they have developed from preteen into adolescence and into an adulthood stage. So this upcoming Beijing Olympics in 2022 is really like this fancy adult dinner party that they want to throw in a perfect manner. It needs to be meticulous to detail and it needs to have perfect attendance. And if people don't show, if countries do not show up it will be a major face issue, not only for them on a global stage, but also for them inside their own country. And remember that our number one priority is to keep 1.4 billion people just happy enough that they don't revolt. So by putting a line in the sand and saying, hey, we have serious things we want to achieve in the next 300 days. If you do not do that we will not show up. That is going to wake them up to the fact that we are serious and that their fancy dinner party is in jeopardy if they don't abide by some of the ideas that we present to them. So for instance, the Olympic athletes might still go to the games, but President Biden might not show. No. I think actually the threat needs to be followed through if they don't. For instance, all this provocation, all of these pushes into Taiwan airspace, into Taiwan maritime territory by the PLA, by these military exercises, those need to stop. If any more of those occur between now and Beijing 2022 we simply will not show up and we will try to find and get behind us others of our Western allies to also agree to not to show up. Now if you look at who's out there that I think can provide that strength in numbers, united we stand type of discipline, I would argue Australia would definitely be one of them. Canada would be another. And the UK would probably be another. So between those four that's a pretty good start. I would also argue there's lots of European nations that might back us too. And on behalf of the actual athletes involved, which by the way, none of us want to penalize over this geopolitical issue, I would argue that we could actually throw our own, whether it's in Park City, Utah, whether it's in Vancouver at one of the former Olympic sites in one of our allies or within our own nation so there is a way to allow them to still compete yet also uphold the threat and the red line that we put in the sand. But we need to give them what those things are so that we use the leverage that we have over the next 300 days to actually get this done. The checklist you mentioned, what would some of those things be? You mentioned Taiwan, which if a threat of a Olympic boycott could actually affect how the Chinese Communist Party treats Taiwan, that would be a pretty powerful thing. Well think about it. It's actually a bit of a baby step. I mean obviously the big North Star we would like to say is that Taiwan is no longer China, we are not abiding by the One-China policy anymore, you guys cannot touch Taiwan even though you believe it's part of the PRC. That would be the North Star. I would say over the next 300 days there's probably a baby step approach we can achieve, which is no more provocation, no more threats, no more thumping the chest, no more military exercises. You do that, the red line will be crossed, we will not come. There's other things like that that we should do too. Obviously the human rights issue is something that's a big situation right now that's creating lots of controversy. We should have access to the Jinjiang Province without huge prescheduled visits too. And open access to everything we need to see. Because quite frankly, if there are propaganda about how they're not doing anything wrong or inhibiting human rights issues when it comes to the Uighurs, if that's actually true we will see it and we'll drop that argument. But the fact is, we know that's not the case. When you look at the WTO designation that we gave them back in 2001 as a developing nation, I think right now we have the leverage to say you're no longer developing nation, you should be developed. That right away, that little baby step, that change in terminology will rebalance the trade dynamic drastically because they will have to abide by developed nation principles rather than developing nation. Those are just three examples. And obviously my examples are just ideas that I want to throw out there and get the discussion going because we have 300 days left and we're going to lose this point of leverage if we don't act on it soon. So why are the Olympics such an important battle? It's interesting. The Olympics by itself is just a sporting event. I mean what's the big deal honestly? But when you think about the way the Chinese Communist Party operates in that 1.4 billion people just having enough that they don't revolt, a lot of that has to do with providing them all of what they need and some of what they want, but it also has to do with giving them the aspirational idea that they can achieve more if they work harder and keep moving in the right direction. And then on top of it, it's about promoting the leadership that works for them, that 1.4 billion people as something that's respected on a global stage as well as internally inside of China. So that respect on a global stage is completely symbolic by the people that show up to see what this Olympics is going to be, to see what the communist party was able to put together infrastructure wise and the kind of party and dinner party atmosphere it's going to be overall, and to be impressed with what China has built over such a short amount of time since they've really opened up over the last 40 years. And the eyes of the Chinese populace are going to be watching every one of those moves. So if anything doesn't go exactly according to plan there's going to be doubt in the eyes of the people that they rule and that is not good for them if they want to keep everybody content. And you mentioned earlier the idea that if Beijing does cross whatever the red line is we could hold our own quote unquote games somewhere else in the world. And this is something that I've always wondered about. Why does the international Olympic committee, they've just been so willing to turn a blind eye to China's human rights abuses. Well it's an unfortunate thing that goes back to why lots of companies, lots of industries are turning a blind eye to human rights abuses and all the other things that we have issues with when it comes to China or various other countries around the world. If there's money to be made, capitalism and that reckless form of capitalism tends to trump things that are maybe morally and ethically correct or the values and principles that we hold dearly. When you look at the IOC, they not only are looking to provide the revenues that they're looking for from the given Olympics every two years, but on top of it they need major infrastructure put together over the course of a decade prior to pull those Olympics off well. And quite frankly, one of the only kinds of countries that's willing to put that type of taxpayer money or central planning money towards that cause happens to be centrally planned countries around the world. And that's why we unfortunately see more Olympics carried on in non-democratic countries than in democratic countries. Well so for the people watching, what can they do to help build momentum for a boycott of the Olympic games? Well that's a fantastic question. And if we always look at everything stops at the buck, that's probably one of the best places to do that. Since the Daryl Morey tweet, the GM of the Houston Rockets back in October 2019 when he supported essentially the protest rights of Hong Kong citizens back in that situation, we became more cognizant as citizens, as journalists, as policy makers, as elected officials to what essentially was this head in the sand action that companies and industries had when it came to obvious human rights abuses that were happening in China. And that was all because investors benefited from keeping that head in the sand, stocks and the stock prices and the share prices benefited, revenues benefited, profits, et cetera. The best way to attack that is to say to those companies, hey, look, we will support you if you support what we think is American, what we think is the value and principle that we want you to abide by. We will buy your product and service. And if they stop buying the products and services of these companies, whether it's here in the United States or in other Western allied markets, those companies will start to feel it. And suddenly the negative effect of what's happening in markets outside of China will counteract the actual benefits of continuing to continue down this path with China and hoping that the China revenues offset that negative, right? Once that imbalance gets there, suddenly they're going to have to pay attention. And it's moving that direction. So for instance, if the American people say we will boycott Coca-Cola if Coca-Cola doesn't boycott the Beijing Olympics? Yes. That's probably more of a negative way to make it work. Boycotts in general to me feel like more of a destructive form of resulting in change, but that is one way to go. I think in another aspect it could be the benefit of actually becoming a brand that's known to uphold the ethics and morals and American values that we think so dearly of, right, and essentially allow those companies to grow as far as the way that brand builds. Almost in a Muhammad Ali type of scenario where he took a stand on something and suddenly he became bigger than the sport he actually was a part of and he became more valuable because of that. That's the way I see somebody like for instance LeBron James could do. If he took a stand, says I don't want my 50 million out of China because I want to be on a crusade to actually fix the wrongs in the world, he suddenly transforms from just the best in basketball and the best in essentially domestic social issues to one that he is fighting for on a global level. And I would say that would take his $1 billion and make it into 3 billion. Well I hope... That's very optimistic. I hope we can see that kind of change happen. Well you know what, as we talked about earlier, I look at the China challenge, the challenge that faces us and our Western allies as one of those common causes that red and blue, any type of ideology can get behind because there's national security interests involved, there's economic security interests involved, there are justice and human rights issues involved, there are freedom of speech issues. Those are things that all Americans and all people a part of the democratic world can agree on and if that is what drives us to try to fix this challenge, we're going to unite in the process. So China really brings us all together? Well it hasn't yet, but that's my goal. And that's what gets me to fall asleep at night even though I'm thinking about all of this all the time. And it's what gets me up in the morning excited to talk to people like you who are creating the platform to say, hey look, everybody, this is something that affects you. I know it's a slow moving train wreck, which is the unfortunate part about this challenge, it's not something that happens right away, but it's something we're running out of time on. Something that I look at the 2025 initiatives that they have there and I say, you know what, once they get there it's going to be hard to get past that day of reckoning and actually fix some of these things. We have a ticking clock.