Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley slammed Olympic gold medallist Eileen Gu for competing in the 2022 Beijing Olympics for China, saying that when it comes to citizenships, athletes “have got to pick a side.”
Gu’s road to the Games has been overshadowed by the 18-year-old’s decision to ski for China, her mother’s native country, despite being a San Fransisco native.
“In terms of the citizenship, look, China or the U.S.? You have got to pick a side. Period,” Haley told Real Clear Politics’ Phillip Wegmann. “You’ve got to pick a side because you’re either American or you’re Chinese, and they are two very different countries.”
“Every athlete needs to know when they put their flag on, you’re standing for freedom or you’re standing for human rights abuses,” she said. “There is no in-between.”
American-born Gu had announced she would compete for her mother’s homeland back in 2019, before the U.S. announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics over the “genocide and crimes against humanity” of the Uyghur Muslims in the Xianjian region.
It’s unclear whether Gu, who plans to go to Stanford University, surrendered her American passport to Beijing authorities. However, China does not allow for dual citizenships.
Haley has been among the Republican Party’s most vocal critics of China.
“I can’t get the images out of my head of people on their knees blindfolded, knowing what’s about to happen to them,” she told Wegmann about the images of imprisoned Uyghurs. “I can’t imagine in any way supporting that or propping up China.”