As America’s controversial participation in the Winter Olympics in Beijing draws near, reporting has surfaced showing two high-profile cultural institutions funded with federal taxpayer funds partner with the Chinese communist government. The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center are hosting events in conjunction with the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
The Smithsonian and Kennedy Center websites describe the events that will celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Smithsonian’s page describes an online event scheduled with the Chinese delegation for February 5. The Kennedy Center is planning a lantern ceremony for the Chinese holiday, also coordinated with the Embassy.
The Smithsonian Institute receives two-thirds of its funding from federal taxpayers. Vice President Kamala Harris and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts sit with numerous other federal officials on the organization’s board of regents.
The Kennedy Center is nominally a nonprofit organization that receives more than $50 million per year in taxpayer funds from Congress.
Both organizations have previously hosted events in cooperation with the Chinese Embassy. The Lunar New Year events are the first such events since the federal government has publicly accused China of conducting genocide against the Uyghur Muslims inside its borders.
Last week, Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang said that the US risks a “potential military conflict” supporting Taiwan’s complete independence claim. Qin has also publicly denied that China is carrying out genocide against the Uyghurs, saying the claim is one of the “biggest lies of the century.”
Joe Biden has announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics, meaning the government will not send any officials or representatives. At the same time, athletes are still allowed to participate.
The Chinese Embassy has been using the Lunar New Year celebration to promote the Olympics, as the annual holiday is the most important in several East Asian nations. The Embassy worked with Chinese state media to promote the games and the holidays at American sporting events this winter and has recruited American social media influencers to promote the games positively.
The Free Beacon’s reporting does not indicate whether the Chinese government provided funding to the Smithsonian or the Kennedy Center to host the Lunar New Year events. Neither organization responded to the outlet’s requests for comment on the matter.