Letters to the Editor: It isn’t racist to question Eileen Gu’s silence on China’s human rights abuses

Olympian Eileen Gu.
China’s Eileen Gu at the Winter Olympics.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Frank Shyong misses a key mark in covering the backlash against Olympic freestyle skier Eileen Gu. (“Eileen Gu, the Olympics and who gets to be American,” column, Feb. 19)

For many Asian and Pacific Islander Americans such as myself, the issue has nothing to do with an athlete choosing to compete for another country. The problem is that after staking much of her U.S. reputation speaking out on the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-Asian hate, Gu now represents China and remains silent on that country’s abysmal human rights record.

Platitudes of uplifting women through sport while avoiding discussions of the Uyghur genocide or destruction of Hong Kong democracy may appease the Chinese Communist Party, but they ring hollow here.


Kip Fulbeck, Santa Barbara


To the editor: I don’t want to be accused of being a racist if I point out that an American competing for autocratic China is different than an American competing for most of the other countries for which American athletes have competed at the 2022 Olympic Games.

These other countries are not threats to our democracy, nor have they been cited for major violations of human rights.

Ann C. Hayman, Westwood


To the editor: Gu was 15 years old when she decided to compete for China at the Olympics, so I’m willing to cut her some slack.

However, I hope that by now she’s become aware of China crushing freedom in Hong Kong, aggressively threatening Taiwan and neighbors in the South China Sea, and attempting the cultural extinction of Muslim Uyghurs. It isn’t anti-Chinese racism to point these things out.

Despite the protestations of the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Games are quite political. Why else do the athletes open the Games marching under their nations’ flags?

Scott McKenzie, La Cañada Flintridge