Nancy Pelosi has called for a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

The United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a US diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, criticising China for human rights abuses.

Pelosi stated that global leaders who attended the Games would lose "moral authority" in a bipartisan Congressional hearing.

"What I propose - and join those who are proposing - is a diplomatic boycott," said Pelosi.

"Let's not honour the Chinese Government by having heads of state go to China.

"For heads of state to go to China in light of a genocide that is ongoing - while you're sitting there in your seat - really begs the question, what moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world?"

Republican Congressman Chris Smith claimed that corporate sponsors should have to testify in Congress and "be held to account", while Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern added the Games should be postponed to give the International Olympic Committee time to find a replacement.

It comes after a coalition of Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others have issued a statement calling for a full-blown boycott of Beijing 2022, citing the alleged human rights abuses in China.

It is the latest call for nations to not travel to China for the Games, although the latest is notably not just a "diplomatic boycott" that involves heads of state not attending, but stating countries should not attend the event at all.

A coalition of campaigners are calling for a full boycott of the Beijing 2022 Olympics ©Getty Images
A coalition of campaigners are calling for a full boycott of the Beijing 2022 Olympics ©Getty Images

The coalition released a statement online which read: "Participating in the Beijing Olympic Games at this time would be tantamount to endorsing China's genocide against the Uyghur people and legitimising the increasingly repressive policies of the totalitarian Chinese regime.

"We believe athletes are people of conscience who have the power to use their platforms to stop injustice.

"We call on them, and those who believe in the right of all people to exist, and to live free from fear and oppression, to join our movement."

The coalition further explained their boycott with the Associated Press.

"The time for talking with the International Olympic Committee is over," said Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute.

"This cannot be Games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community.

"If the Games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing.

"People have worked to engage with the IOC in good faith to have them understand the issues directly from the mouths of those most impacted - the Uyghurs at the top of that list and the Tibetans and others.

"It's clear the IOC is completely uninterested in what the real impacts on the ground for people are."

Calls around the world have been made to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ©Getty Images
Calls around the world have been made to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ©Getty Images

Tethong was detained and deported from China in 2007 - prior to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing - for leading a campaign for Tibetan independence. 

Previously the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee's stated its opposition to a boycott, saying it would only hurt athletes.

The IOC has stressed it must be "neutral" and stay out of politics.

The IOC receives around 75 per cent of its income from selling broadcast rights, with another 18 per cent coming from sponsors.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's Government has been accused of the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, as well as cracking down on pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong among other criticisms.

Accusations in Xinjiang include religion being criminalised against Uyghurs as well as their language and culture.

"Is it OK to host an international goodwill sporting event such as the Olympic Games while the host nation is committing genocide just beyond the stands?" added Tethong.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20 next year.