China and U.S. officials cross swords over digital yuan

July 21, 2021

Historically fierce competitors when it comes to gold medals at Olympic Games, the heat is already rising between the United and China. Long before the lighting of the Olympic flame at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games government officials of both superpowers have addressed warnings. This time on the subject of China’s digital yuan.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian addressed U.S. senators’ warning letter to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee about the use of the digital yuan at the Olympic games next year.

Track & Trace

In the letter, senators Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker and Cynthia Lummis highlighted the allegation that the digital yuan can be “tracked and traced” by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). The senators said that the new features of the digital yuan enable Chinese officials “to know the exact details of what someone purchased and where.”

Consequently, they suggested officials prevent U.S. athletes from using or accepting the Chinese digital currency during the international games. In the letter, the three requested a briefing on the topic for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation within 30 days.

Responding to the letter, Lijian suggested U.S. lawmakers “figure out what a digital currency really is.” He further claimed that the recent actions revealed ignorance.

Lijian called for the U.S. politicians to “abide by the spirit stipulated in the Olympic Charter” as he asked them to “stop making sports a political matter and stop making troubles out of the digital currency in China.” This according to report in the South China Morning Post.

China has ‘as good as’ ended its trial of the digital yuan, its central bank digital currency, and regards the Beijing Winter Olympics, as the first international test of the currency. PBoC deputy governor Li BO had recently said that they are making make the digital yuan (e-CNY) available not only to domestic users but also to international athletes and like visitors.

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Author: Peter Siu

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